Boston Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla and his staff will coach Team Giannis in the 2023 All-Star Game next month in Salt Lake City, the NBA announced Monday night.
Mazzulla and Boston’s coaching staff earned the honor when the Philadelphia 76ers saw their seven-game win streak snapped by the Orlando Magic on Monday, which guaranteed Boston would have the best record in the Eastern Conference through Sunday, the cutoff date for determining who will coach each conference.
Mazzulla, who took over as Boston’s interim coach just days before training camp began in late September after Ime Udoka was suspended for the season for violations of team rules, becomes just the third first-year head coach in the last 24 years to coach the All-Star team in their first year on the job, and the first Celtics coach to hold the honor since current team president Brad Stevens in 2017.
After reaching the NBA Finals last season, Boston owns the NBA’s best record at 36-15 and is the only team to rank in the top five in offensive and defensive rating (Boston is fourth in each category).
Denver currently leads the Western Conference by two games over the Memphis Grizzlies, and next plays Tuesday night at home against the New Orleans Pelicans, who have lost eight games in a row.
If Denver wins that game, the Nuggets will need to win only one of their remaining three games this week to clinch the honor for coach Michael Malone, who would also be a first-time All-Star coach.