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Ime Udoka: “For us, it’s nameless, faceless opponents”

The Celtics’ coach asserted that the team is focused on playing the best basketball they can play, regardless of opponent

Sacramento Kings v Boston Celtics Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

According to net rating, the Boston Celtics are the sixth-best team in the NBA. Not in the last month, not in the last 15 games, but on the season. A big-time thank you to the great Sean Grande for pointing that out.

However, as Grande also recognized, the upcoming schedule will be a real test for the surging C’s, with their next four games coming against playoff-hopeful opponents. According to head coach Ime Udoka, though, the Celtics aren’t worrying about their opponents right now. They’re focused on one thing — themselves.

“For us it’s nameless, faceless opponents. Continue to do what we’re doing. And hold ourselves to that standard that we talked about regardless of who we’re playing.”

Udoka spoke about this concept after the Celtics’ most recent win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night. Boston has won five games in a row now and is 13-6 in 2022. Their play on the defensive end has led the way, but the offense is slowly coming around, too.

Despite their struggles throughout the first half of the season, Boston is turning the corner just in time for a postseason push. Udoka said that they are doing their best to put the bad times behind them in favor of focusing on the present.

“We’re worried about what we’re doing on a night to night basis and continuing to do with what we’ve been doing over the last month and a half… It’s about putting that [early-season struggles] behind us and building on where we’re at now.”

The concept of “nameless, faceless” opponents is the perfect motto for the Celtics to roll with. Instead of worrying about who they are facing, they are focused on improving internally.

That being said, Jaylen Brown might not have gotten the memo. Or at least, he hadn’t heard the phrase. John Karalis of the Locked on Celtics Podcast asked him if this concept has helped the team, but Brown was hilariously confused.

“Say that one more time? Nameless, faceless opponents?... Sh**, your guess is as good as mine, John, I don’t know what the f*** you’re talking about. Nameless, faceless opponents? What does that even mean?”

The media members in attendance then explained that it simply meant “focus on yourselves,” to which Brown responded, “okay got you, yeah let’s go with that one.”

All this combined into one of the most entertaining postgame moments of the season, a delight considering the gloomy aura surrounding many prior press conferences this year.

And even though Brown had never heard the phrase before, he’s evidently fully on board with the concept.

“I like it, so we’re going to roll with it from now on. Nameless, faceless opponents. Let’s do it.”

The Celtics will be back in action on Wednesday night as they take on the Brooklyn Nets at 7:30 p.m. in a game that could end up being crucial in regard to Eastern Conference playoff seeding.