Sunday, March 24, 2024

Celtics 124, Bulls 113: Sam Hauser set franchise 3-point in C's ninth-straight victory

The shorthanded Celtics are not slowing down, as they beat the Chicago Bulls 124-113 Saturday night at the United Center for their ninth consecutive victory.

Jayson Tatum finished with 26 points and six assists to lead the C's, who were down three starters on the second night of a back-to-back.

Sam Hauser started in place of Jaylen Brown (ankle), to net 23 points on 7-of-8 from deep -- setting a franchise record for knocking down a total of 21 3-pointers in a three-game stretch, surpassing his teammate Tatum that notched the same historic feat with 19 this past January.
"I think it's just a comfort level of knowing that his teammates are looking for him," head coach Joe Mazzulla said. "If you look at most of his threes, they're really good passes and timely passes into his shot, so I think it's just that comfort level that he knows he's going to get open and he knows guys are going to see him."
Al Horford returned from his day off to hit 5-of-10 from behind the arc, grab eight rebounds and also score 23 points in a starting role with Kristaps Porzinigis (hamstring) out. Derrick White added 17 points, six assists, while Payton Pritchard played heavy minutes with Jrue Holiday (shoulder) who has missed the last three outings was also sidelined, to record 15 points and eight assists to help Boston improve to 57-14 on the season.
"We're just hungry for more," Hauser said during his postgame comments. "It's not in our character to just, like, mail it in for the rest of the season."
DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 28 points on 12-of-19 from the field to go along with nine assists to lead Chicago. Nikola Vucevic recorded 14 points, five assists and Coby White chipped in 11 points, 10 assists for the Bulls -- that dropped to 34-37.

It was knotted at 31 to start the second quarter, before the Celtics took a 66-60 advantage into the break. Chicago was up for the first time in the second half with 6:44 left in the third -- as there were six lead changes the rest of the period and Boston was ahead 95-92 heading into the final frame.

The Bulls trailed by four when the Celtics went on a 10-4 run that turned into a 117-107 lead with 3:04 remaining to put away the home team for good, following four straight made free throws by Tatum and Hauser's seventh 3-pointer of the night.
"Different people, different guys, are ready to step up when their number's called," said Horford in his postgame interview. "We all understand what we're trying to do, how we're trying to play. Guys are just staying ready and taking advantage of the opportunities."
The Celtics continue their six-game road trip Monday when they face the Hawks (31-39) for a two-game series in Atlanta.

Game Notes:

Boston hit 51.2% of their shot attempts from the field, including 21-of-48 (43.8%) from 3-point range while the Bulls were 57.3% from the floor and 9-of-24 (37.5%) from long distance. The C's won the rebound battle 41-29, but were outscored in the paint 54-38. Chicago handed out 36 assists (seven turnovers) on 47 baskets to the Celtics' 28 dimes (12 turnovers) on 44 made shots. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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