Joe Mazzulla credits Celtics fans in helping power team to historic 18-0 home record

The Boston Celtics have opened the 2023-24 regular season with a perfect18-0 record at home, moving past the 1957-58 team in the franchise record books. It’s an impressive mark, and one that has kept Boston atop the standings in the Eastern Conference as well.

After the Celtics defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves at TD Garden Wednesday night, team head coach Joe Mazzulla was asked about the historic streak. Earlier in the season he was more coy about this dynamic, but with the franchise-record squarely in his team’s possession, he was a little more open. He explained how the energy of the crowd and the history of the team keep expectations high.

“At this point there’s been two times that I’ve actually showed I have a pulse,” Mazzulla joked. “Tonight was one of them, and it’s because of the crowd. We’re not 18-0 at home without that.”

Back in December, Mazzulla spoke about how playing “Celtic basketball” is a North Star for his team. The Rhode Islander knows what it means to be a sports fan in the region, and reiterated that knowing fans in the crowd have high expectations has been a driver for him and this group.

“I talked about this before a little bit ago,” Mazzulla explained. “We want to create this identity of playing ‘Celtic basketball’ because the fans here are really smart. They know when we suck, and they know when we don’t, and they’ve seen great basketball for a long period of time.”

“Usually if they’re cheering, it’s because you’re doing something right.” Mazzulla added.

“I think over the course of this season,” Mazzulla continued. “They’ve seen moments of greatness, they’ve seen moments of Celtic basketball, and they’ve responded to that really well. And I think it’s had a huge impact on our team and to me, from especially being from here.”

Boston struggled at times against Minnesota. It took a big late-game push from Jayson Tatum to help the Celtics grab a victory. Along the way, the home crowd got louder and louder, something Mazzulla appreciated.

“Tonight specifically,” Mazzulla said. “Even when we did suck, which we did at times, they did a good job of keeping us in it. I think that’s important to have that relationship with the crowd and with the city.”

Setting franchises records is difficult given how much success the Celtics franchises has enjoyed. And an 18-0 home record will be nothing more than a footnote if this team doesn’t make a deep postseason run. Still, Mazzulla took the time to stop and smell the flowers and thank the fans.

“There’s nothing better than getting the Garden and the crowd to appreciate Celtic basketball.” Mazzulla said.

“I think the connectivity between us and the identity of the city and the identity of the arena is is kind of building something for us.”

Boston’s next home game is this Saturday against the Houston Rockets.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire