Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla reiterated throughout the 2023-24 season that it's hard to tell how a game will pan out, and that his players should always manage expectations.

You can’t have any expectations as to how you think this game is going to go,” Mazzulla told his guys prior to a comeback victory over the lowly Detroit Pistons in late December. “You have to be ready to adapt, and do what’s necessary to win the game.”

Despite this philosophy, Mazzulla predicted exactly how the 2024 NBA Finals would go down. According to his wife Camai Mazzulla, the 35-year-old coach foresaw the Celtics celebrating a title on their home floor, via the “All In” series, presented by FanDuel.

“He had said, most of the season, ‘We’re gonna win, and we’re gonna win at home,” Camai recalled.

The Celtics fulfilled Mazzulla's prophecy by defeating the Dallas Mavericks in five games and hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy at TD Garden.

“I just had a feeling that everything that everyone had been through, we were gonna face that head-on,” he said. “And we were gonna conquer it together. I knew we were gonna win, and I knew we were gonna win at home. It was a sense of inevitability within our team because they made a decision that they were gonna do it. And that they were gonna do it together.”

How everything came together for the 2023-24 Celtics

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) celebrates with the trophy on the podium after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

“Together” is the perfect word for the 2023-24 Celtics.

Throughout all the ups and downs, they stayed even-keeled and sacrificed together. For instance, while Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown saw their scoring averages decline this season, they paid no attention to that. All they wanted to do was win.

“Why would I let my ego or my need to score all the points get in the way of [what we're trying to accomplish],” Tatum said following Boston's Game 2 win over the Mavs. “If I need to have 16 potential assists every single night and that's what puts us in the best position to win and it doesn't mean I'm the leading scorer, by all means, if that gives us the best chance to win, sign me up.”

The Celtics also shared the limelight the only way they knew how: together. While Tatum is typically viewed as the top player for Boston, he was more than happy to see Brown, his partner in crime since 2017, win Finals MVP.

“Well-deserved. Extremely happy for him. This is a hell of an accomplishment,” he praised. “The main goal for us was to win a championship. We weren't—we didn't care who got Finals MVP. I know that I need him through this journey and he needs me.”

Tatum and Brown also credited the rest of their teammates for their help in ending the Celtics' 16-year title drought.

“We had a great team. My teammates were great. They allowed me to lead us on both ends of ball, and we just came out and performed on our home floor,” Brown stated after winning it all. “We did it together as a team, and that was the most important thing.”

Fellow starters Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, and Kristaps Porzingis all were huge boons for Boston during the 2023-24 campaign. Their talent and two-way abilities bolstered Boston's dynamic duo and gave the Celtics the best starting lineup in the NBA.

However, it wasn't just about those actively on the court. Mazzulla made sure that the Celtics who came before this year's championship team were recognized for their achievements.

“For every person that's worked for this organization. For every person that's played for this organization. You've helped move the Celtics organization forward,” Mazzulla said at the end of the “All In” series. “We're all in it together, and everyone needs to know that.”

Players like Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart come to mind, as they were essential members of gritty and gifted Celtics teams that approached championship glory, but never quite got there. If they didn't keep Boston's winning ways alive, perhaps Tatum and Brown never have the necessary postseason experience to get over the hump down the line. That then could've led to fans and team executives giving up too early on their core players.

Simply put, Banner 18 was a full team effort. The Celtics needed the struggles of their predecessors, the perseverance of their stars, and the winning mindsets of their coaches to bring a title back to Beantown.