Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla calls to his players...

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla calls to his players during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, in Boston. Credit: AP/Charles Krupa

MANCHESTER, England — As he goes for his first NBA championship, Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla has sought some inspiration from a soccer manager who has spent 15 years racking up titles.

Mazzulla was a guest at English and European champion Manchester City over the weekend, taking in its Premier League game against Chelsea on Saturday and then meeting manager Pep Guardiola at the team’s training ground on Sunday.

Mazzulla and Guardiola exchanged Celtics and City jerseys. Mazzulla also watched one of City’s practice sessions, talking to players before and after, as he took advantage of a break in the NBA schedule because of the All-Star Game.

“We were in touch last month,” Guardiola, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach, said Monday about meeting Mazzulla. “He said to me he’d like to come to a game and that he had some (spare) time in the NBA.

“He had a few days with the family here in London. After that, back to business in Massachusetts. It was really nice to have him here with his family.”

The Celtics, who are first in the Eastern Conference with a 43-12 record, next play on Thursday against the Chicago Bulls.

Mazzulla has been coach of the Celtics since September 2022, initially on an interim basis.

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla shouts from the bench...

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla shouts from the bench in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in Boston. Credit: AP/Steven Senne

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