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Celtics' Mazzulla: We deserve more All-Stars

MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images / MediaNews Group / Getty

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla isn't content with sending two players from the Eastern Conference-leading juggernauts to this weekend's All-Star Game in Indianapolis.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum earned an All-Star starter selection, and teammate Jaylen Brown will join him at the festivities as a reserve. But Mazzulla said he believes Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White also merited inclusion.

"Clearly, winning is not important, huh? Winning's not valued," Mazzulla told reporters Tuesday when asked about All-Star replacements. "How could you not put both of those guys in? Winning's not the most important thing in the league."

Injury absences for Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid and New York Knicks star Julius Randle resulted in two vacant spots on the Eastern Conference's 12-player All-Star squad.

Coaches selected Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Trae Young and Toronto Raptors third-year standout Scottie Barnes to fill those roles. Young and Barnes represent teams with records below .500 heading into the All-Star break.

Mazzulla said Porzingis' and White's snubs are unfortunate but added they're both unbothered by the decision.

"They're two guys that get it," Mazzulla said. "They're guys that have been around and just want to play the right way. They want to be a part of winning, and winning is the most important thing to those two guys. At the end of the day, that's really all that matters."

Porzingis' first campaign with the Celtics following an offseason move from the Washington Wizards has been highlighted by stats that fortify Mazzulla's position. The Latvian big man is averaging 20.4 points, seven rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 39 outings for Boston.

White's statistical returns may not be as noteworthy, though the 29-year-old has been heralded for his role as a two-way lynchpin whose defensive play has helped cover for Marcus Smart's departure. White is averaging 15.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists this season.

The 42-12 Celtics are guaranteed to boast the league's best record ahead of Sunday's All-Star Game. Mazzulla coached the Eastern Conference All-Star team last season and, per NBA rules, isn't permitted to do so in successive campaigns. Newly appointed Milwaukee Bucks bench boss Doc Rivers will do so instead.

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