Ime Udoka, a 44-year-old Nigerian professional basketball coach and former D'Tiger's captain for Nigeria Men's National basketball team says he is delighted to lead his team, Boston Celtics to their debut win of the ongoing season of National Basketball Association (NBA) as head coach after being an assistant for the past two years.
Boston Celtics and Rockets NBA Games
The Celtics -- 17-time winners of the NBA championship -- defeated the Rockets 107-97 on Sunday night in Houston to record their first win of the 2021/2022 season.
“It’s special,” Udoka told the media after the game. “Got the water shower in there from the guys and the game ball. I told the guys it’s overdue, it took you too long to get it.
“Thanks to Jaylen (Brown) and Romeo (Langford) for helping, seeing as how they sat out tonight. It’s good to get a win, not just for the first, but to get us rolling on the right foot. Played the right way tonight, defended how we could after that first quarter,” Udoka said.
A former NBA player himself with stints with the Spurs, 76ers, and Nets, Udoka mentioned that it took only three games to be exact. But it probably felt like an eternity from Udoka’s vantage point after starting the season off with back-to-back losses.
Tatum did his part to help Udoka get the win, as he poured in a season-high 31 points.
Al Horford also came up big with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three steals and three blocks.
Dennis Schroder logged 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists, while Grant Williams matched Schroder’s scoring mark while knocking down a career-high five 3-pointers.
It was a performance level that was conspicuously absent during Boston’s 33-point loss to the Toronto Raptors last Friday.
“I would say overall, that’s who we are,” Udoka said of the toughness that the Celtics displayed at Houston. “That’s who we’ve been in the preseason, and all the practices are spirited and competitive. So I look at that [loss to the Raptors] as more of an aberration than the norm.
“We got back to what we did tonight, which is competing at a high level, matched this young team’s energy and really shared the ball and defended well. So that’s what we’re looking for: consistency going forward. And we brought it well tonight.”
“It’s good to get a win, not just for the first, but to get us rolling on the right foot. As for the memento that almost rolled away, I may look at the ball someday. But it’s on to Charlotte now,” added the 44-year-old, referring to the game ball that was handed to him at the end of Sunday night’s game.