Sunday, April 9, 2023

Why Sam Hauser may be important for Celtics come playoffs

The Celtics took care of business against the Toronto Raptors Friday night, led by Sam Hauser and his impressive showing at TD Garden.

The second year forward netted a career-high 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 6-of-12 from deep and three highlight dunks -- one of which got the C's bench on their feet.
"I haven't had that many dunks in a game since high school," Hauser said during his postgame presser.
Needless to say, Hauser not only led the team in points, but he proved he can score in a multitude of ways, especially when staying aggressive at the rim and his teammates are all for it. 
"When you don't do something very often, and when you do, it gets everyone [excited]," Hauser said. "Even when I see other people do things, it gets me excited. So, I'm glad that they showed some emotion, and it's cool to see them celebrating something I did."
Jayson Tatum, who finished with 21 points in the Celtics' 121-102 blowout victory over the Raptors, agrees that Hauser is capable of that having that type of performance when given the opportunity.
"Sam is a big part of our team and what we're trying to accomplish," Tatum said in his postgame comments. "It's just a testament to how hard he's worked, especially this offseason and this season, to be prepared for moments like this."
Despite Boston playing without Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart or Malcolm Brogdon, the depth of the current roster allows players like Hauser to step up when called upon.
"When we have a full roster, I don't really know if I'll play or not, but I'm always ready," Hauser explained. "And I know I'm going to be locked in during the timeouts and huddles and make sure I know what's going on, so if my number is called, I'm ready to go."
Hauser has taken full advantage of his playing time, especially when he has started (seven times). In 24 games that he has played 20-plus minutes this year, Hauser averages 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists on 48.6% shooting from the floor and 47.2% from behind the arc -- compared to his overall season averages of 6.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists on 45% from the field and 41.1% from 3-point range.

On Friday against Toronto, Hauser played roughly 37 minutes, as a lot had to do with Tatum not playing at all in the second half. Still, whether in the rotation or not and with the playoffs set to begin next week, Hauser is prepared for whatever is needed of him.
"Obviously, the playoffs are a big step up from the regular season in terms of the attention to detail and intensity, so I got to be ready for it," Hauser said.
The Celtics (No. 2 seed) in the first round will face the winner of the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat play-in tournament game for the seventh seed in the East.  

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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