Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka became the first Nigerian head coach to win a match in the NBA after his Celtics side defeated the Houston Rockets 107-97 to improve their record to 1-2 after three games of the season.
After losing in their first two matches to the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors, Ime Udoka began to feel the heat after his side were booed off the court after their blowout 115-83 loss to the Raptors in their second match of the season.
With their backs to the wall, All-Star player Jayson Tatum finally picked up form at the right time after two previous below-par performances in the opening matches. The Olympic gold medalist stepped up in the absence of Jaylen Brown and Romeo Langford, who missed the match through knee tendinitis and a calf strain, respectively.
Tatum led the scoring for his side with 31 points and added nine rebounds for good measure to help his side avoid three successive defeats. 20 of his points came in the first half on 8-of-13 shooting from the field.
The Celtics had to work for their win after going eight points behind very early in the match. Grant Williams added 18 points off the bench, with Dennis Schroder and Al Horford (18 and 17 points, respectively), also contributing to the hugely important win.
The 19-year-old rookie and number two pick in the 2021 draft, Jalen Green, had himself a brilliant night for the Rockets at the Toyota Center. The teenager led the scoring for the Rockets with 30 points, four rebounds and three assists in the match.
Ime Udoka led the Boston Celtics to a first win of the season by adding a slight tweak to the system he played with in the first two matches by bolstering his defence and preventing the Rockets from getting an easy route to the basket.
The Celtics players celebrated their head coach on the event of his first win. After he received the match ball at the end of the match, he retreated into the locker room where his players showered him with water in celebration and he joked with them. Udoka will now turn his attention towards their match against in-form Charlotte Hornets on Monday.