BOSTON (WHDH) - Celtics Head Coach Joe Mazzulla answered questions and discussed his team’s preparations Thursday as the Celtics continue to wait for their opponent in the upcoming NBA Finals. 

The Celtics punched their ticket to the finals with a Game 4 win over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday. 

At the Auerbach Center on Thursday, Mazzulla said the team is working to stay focused. 

“As you get closer to achieving your goal, it’s easy to become distracted,” Mazzulla said. “At the end of the day the margins will be the reason why we win.”

“I felt like we were great defensively when we needed to be,” Mazzulla continued, referencing the Pacers series. “We just fought to stick together and make winning plays. We just got to fight to keep that.”

Boston opened the playoffs with a five-game series win over the Miami Heat. The Celtics then beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games before sweeping Indiana. 

Despite ending the regular season with the best record in the NBA, Mazzulla said his team found success playing “without a sense of entitlement.”

“I think we just played with the understanding that, even though we’re a good team, we have to be the harder playing team,” he said.

Mazzulla said the Celtics were not distracted.

“It’s no different heading into the Finals,” he said.

Already three days removed from their conference finals victory, the Celtics still do not know their Finals foe as the Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves continue to face off in the Western Conference Finals.

Mazzulla said the time off between games, though, is not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. 

“Anything could be good or bad for you depending upon how you use it,” he said. “It just goes into how you use it.” 

“We’re weaponizing our time right now,” Mazzulla said.

Eying the finals, Mazzula said Celtics players and staff have high expectations for themselves and an open mind as they prepare to face either Dallas or Minnesota. 

“Every series is different and what goes into winning a series is completely different,” he said.

“When you win, everybody always credits you and then when you lose everybody always blames you,” he continued. “In reality, it’s like 10 possessions that separates you and some of those have to go your way.”

The Mavericks currently hold a 3-1 lead over Minnesota in the Western Conference Finals. Tipoff in Game 5 is scheduled for 8:30 p.m., Eastern Time. 

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for Jan. 6.

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