NBA

Pep's helping hand – NBA Finals-winning Celtics coach Mazzulla reveals Guardiola's advice

By Sports Desk June 18, 2024

Pep Guardiola's advice helped the Boston Celtics win the NBA Finals, so says Joe Mazzulla.

The Celtics clinched the NBA title with a 106-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Monday.

That sealed a 4-1 series win for Boston, who won their 18th Championship, and first since 2008.

And head coach Mazzulla revealed that Manchester City manager Guardiola, who was in attendance for Game 1 of the Finals, played a part in his team's success.

"Dallas has one of the smartest defenses," Mazzulla said.

"We had to be creative to counter them."

"Pep helped me in transitions and how to move guys."

Perhaps when he does eventually leave City, Guardiola might just try his hand in the NBA?

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    City signed Ederson from Benfica in 2017, and the Brazil international has been integral to Guardiola's success.

    Ederson has played 250 Premier League matches for City, winning the title six times. He has kept 112 clean sheets, recording a save percentage of 68.17, while his excellent distribution has added another facet to the team's play.

    However, Ederson is attracting interest from Saudi Arabia, and Guardiola conceded the 30-year-old might well leave.

    "I'd like him to stay but it depends on other clubs," Guardiola said after City's 4-3 friendly defeat to Celtic, with Ederson playing in the second half of that match.

    “I don't know the situation. There have been no contacts in the last days.

    "It's a question of training, being with us until the transfer window finishes and we'll see."

    One player who seems destined to leave City this summer is Kalvin Phillips.

    The former Leeds United midfielder has endured a difficult two years since he joined City, and a loan switch to West Ham last season did not go according to plan.

    Guardiola said Phillips was taken off at half-time against Celtic to protect him as he continues his recovery from an injury, but asked about the 28-year-old's future, the City boss said: "I don't know what's going to happen. He knows the situation, and we'll see."

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    For all their attacking talent, City's success under Guardiola has been built on solid foundations, but in the absence of first-team like Ruben Dias, John Stones, Manuel Akanji Nathan Ake and Kyle Walker, their inexperienced back line failed to cope with Celtic's attackers.

    City allowed 13 shots, but they accounted for 2.4 expected goals, while Guardiola's side accumulated only 1.7 xG from 16 shots going the other way.

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