Boston Celtics stand undefeated at home as Ime Udoka returns as coach

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Then-Houston Rockets head coach Ime Udoka looks on during an NBA In-Season Tournament game against the Denver Nuggets at Toyota Center on November 24, 2023, in Houston, Texas. — AFP
Then-Houston Rockets head coach Ime Udoka looks on during an NBA In-Season Tournament game against the Denver Nuggets at Toyota Center on November 24, 2023, in Houston, Texas. — AFP

Boston Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown scored 32 points and power forward Jayson Tatum added 27 as the team remained unbeaten at home, defeating Houston 145-113 on Saturday after Ime Udoka's return to Boston as coach. 

The Celtics improved to a National Basketball Association (NBA) best with 30-9 overall and 19-0 at home, the league's only undefeated club at home stretching its team-record home win streak to start a season.

Brown, who scored 21 points in the third quarter when the Celtics pulled away to stay, hit 11-of-15 shots from the floor, 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots, AFP reported.

"Being aggressive. A lot of times defence gets you going," Brown said of his third-period success. "I get it on the run and when we play like that in transition we're tough to beat."

Udoka led the Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals but was suspended due to an improper relationship with a team staffer. He was replaced by former assistant Joe Mazzulla in February, ending his tenure.

"I'm glad to see Ime back coaching on the sidelines," Brown said. "I'm glad to see a lot of the staff we spent time with over there in Houston. I wish those guys the best of luck."

Asked how he reflected on his departure, Udoka said, "Job not finished. The relationships you build and the people you impact, so that would be the biggest thing.

"The biggest thing I'd say overall is letting some people down, for sure. But we've talked it out and I've seen a lot of these people throughout the summer and talk regularly and so we move past it."

Mazzulla played down the impact of Udoka's return with the Rockets, who hired him as head coach last April.

"The fact Ime is back is great," he said. "But I don't think that really has anything to do with winning or losing."