BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics have won a game, therefore the Celtics have given Ime Udoka his first career victory as an NBA head coach.
Boston delivered Udoka his first W with a 107-97 road victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. After two losses to start the season, the Celtics played their first complete game of the year in Houston, leaving their new head coach impressed with the all-around team effort.
It also left him a little drenched, as Boston players celebrated Udoka’s first win by showering him with barrage of water bottles in the locker room. Udoka enjoyed that celebration, but he followed it up with a little jab toward his players.
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“I told them it’s overdue — you guys took too long to get it,” Udoka told reporters after the win.
“It’s good to get a win,” he added. “Not just for the first one, but to get us rolling on the right foot. I think we played the right way.”
Boston players were pretty thrilled to finally give Udoka an important moment in his career.
“First head-coaching job in the NBA, just to get that off your back, get the first one out the way — I’m sure it means a lot to him, his family,” said Jayson Tatum, who had a game-high 31 points against Houston. “I’m happy for him.”
As the final seconds ticked off the clock in Boston’s victory, big man Robert Williams made sure to get the game ball and pass it along to Udoka. Grant Williams leapt into the air to celebrate with Udoka on the sideline.
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Udoka now has his first win under his belt, and a memento from the occasion that he will eventually display with pride. But that will come when his coaching days are over, which he hopes doesn’t happen for a long, long time.
For now, that game ball will be packed away. Udoka’s attention is fixed completely on the current Celtics, and with the second leg of a back-to-back in Charlotte on Monday, he’s got his sights set on the Hornets.
He enjoyed celebrating that first career win, but now Udoka and the C’s are locked into getting win No. 2 of the 2021-22 season.