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Celtics Coast to Victory Behind Hauser's Career Night

(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Boston entered Wednesday night's contest as a heavy favorite against a young Detroit team. A home game against one of the NBA's bottom feeders seemed like an easy win. But, oftentimes the game after a big win is tougher than expected. After a statement road win at Memphis on Monday, the Celtic's biggest challenge tonight would be to keep their foot on the gas and bring the same energy and effort against a weaker opponent. They did exactly that after going down 3-0, they never trailed in this contest.

Boston opened the game on a quick 21-9 run behind a balanced offensive attack. Detroit has one of the youngest rosters in the league and plays with great energy. They weren't going to roll over and let Boston have an easy win. The Celtics held Detroit to just 21 first-quarter points, an improvement from their last couple of opening quarters defensively. Jaylen Brown carried the Celts on offense throughout the second quarter. A 2/9 first half from Tatum applied a bit of pressure to JB, who has been struggling recently, and he answered. Brown scored seventeen in the first half on an efficient 5/8, to lead all scorers. While Celtic fans have been a bit frustrated with Brown's play to start the season, he remains one of the best second options in the league. It's a big advantage to have another guy that can completely take a game over, and we've seen Jaylen do that plenty of times.

Detroit refused to go away and slowly ate at the lead. With 4 minutes left in the half, they cut the lead down to four. Coach Mazzulla called a timeout, and the Celtics came out of it with a type of confidence that reminded Detroit they are one of the best teams in the league. Boston ended the half in a frenzy and took a 13-point lead to the locker room. Essential to Boston's run was the shooting of Sam Hauser. It's not crazy to think that Hauser might be one of the best shooters in the NBA, as he has been lights out so far this year. Hauser showed an increased willingness to put the ball on the floor tonight, which is something that could turn him into a very good player. The Duncan Robinson comparison is fairly obvious here, and I don't think anyone would complain about that. Boston is already a great shooting team as it is, but adding Hauser makes them an absolute nightmare matchup.

While Detroit kept the pressure on, this one was never in doubt. Jayson Tatum scored 16 in the third quarter, and the C's never looked back. Boston's lead never saw single digits, and they were able to get their rotation players a bit of much-needed rest toward the end of this one. This could go a long way, as the Celtics have one day off before another back-to-back. Oddly enough, Hauser led the Celtics in minutes with nearly 32. Hauser, along with the rest of the second unit would close this one out, giving Boston a 128-112 victory.

Key Stats

1. Sam Hauser scored a career-high 24 points on 9/15 shooting, and 6/12 from three. Hauser is turning into a key rotational piece for Boston right before our eyes. He knows his role and does it exceptionally. He is one of two players in the league shooting over 50% from three this season. The other? Grant Williams.

2. Celtic Starters only played a combined 130 minutes in this game, compared to a season average of 174. When you have a team that is likely going to be playing into June, it's nice to have some extra rest whenever you can get it. It was also nice to finally see Payton Pritchard get some time, which has been sparse so far this year.

3. 11 assists for Marcus Smart. He is now averaging 11.3 assists over his past 3 contests. This is exactly what he needs to do for this team, create and get open looks for others. Smart is great at penetrating the lane, and he's special when he is making the right reads.

Player of the Game: Jaylen Brown

I was tempted to give this to Hauser, but JB really kept Boston afloat in the first half. His 17 first-half points led all scorers and allowed for Tatum to have an off half. Brown would finish with a stat line of 30p/7r/3a on 11/19 shooting. Here's the most important stat for Jaylen: 0 turnovers! Ever since last year, he has just been way too loose with the ball in his hands, turning it over far too much for a player of his caliber. It was great to see him have a nice efficient night while taking care of the ball.

Up Next:

Boston will face the two-time reigning MVP and his Denver Nuggets this Friday at 6:00 PM CST. Boston will look to improve their winning streak to 5 games.

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