Each team has lost the games they’ve played this week, possibly due to the distraction centered around the coaching staff, but veteran leader Al Horford believes the Celtics need to move on from Udoka if his decision happens to ship him to Brooklyn.
“Right now, our focus is on our group and continuing to move forward,” Horford told NBC reporters during the team’s shootaround this morning. “If that materializes for (Udoka), obviously, we’ll be happy for him, but at this point, we’ve already moved forward — We need to bounce back. That’s what’s on my mind.”
The Celtics lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in an overtime thriller Wednesday night, marking their third loss in the last four games. The team averages the most three-pointers (15.4) and sixth most blocks (6.1) across the League under interim Coach Joe Mazzulla. One thing that hasn’t helped is that Boston isn’t forcing many turnovers. They’re averaging 5.7 steals per game this season versus the 7.2 they created last season under Udoka.
That Udoka defense of last year led the team to the NBA Finals, but the past is the past. Horford wants the team to focus on Friday’s game versus the Chicago Bulls.
Considering the reasoning behind the suspension of Udoka, there’s no surprise that a title-contending organization like the Celtics is allowing Udoka to seek coaching opportunities outside Beantown. The objective remains to bring home an 18th title.
“The games are coming on. Things are not going to get easier, ” said Horford. “We’ve got a big challenge starting tonight with Chicago. So, our group, we’re moving ahead. We have to focus and look ahead.”