NBA Hoops

Sam Hauser breaks out of slump in Celtics loss to Magic: ‘just gotta keep shooting’

Sam Hauser breaks out of slump in Celtics loss to Magic: ‘just gotta keep shooting’

There weren’t many positive takeaways from the Boston Celtics’ loss to the Orlando Magic. Down three key rotational players, Orlando continued to act as kryptonite for the Celtics, who lost the season series against the Magic 1-3.

But amongst the chaos was Sam Hauser, who hadn’t played double-digit minutes since January 9 and had earned two straight DNPs heading into the contest. On a night when Boston would need to rely on their depth, he delivered.

“Sam played great,” Jayson Tatum said post-game via CLNS Media. “Obviously, we know he can really shoot the ball, but he had a contest at the rim, he blocked the shot, he came off a pick-n-roll, came down [and] made a layup. I think just being more of a basketball player. He’s so much more than just a shooter. So, I really enjoy when he just makes those basketball plays. I don’t want to box him in as just a catch-and-shoot guy. Sam’s a really, really talented basketball player.”

Hauser ended the night with 13 points, two rebounds, an assist, and a block on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 shooting from deep. He logged 18:52 – the most minutes he’s played since Boston’s January 3 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the second-most since their December 7 win over the Phoenix Suns.

The last time Hauser made three or more threes in a game was back on November 28 against the Charlotte Hornets. And while Tatum stressed Hauser’s ability to contribute in other areas of the game, his pathway to playing time runs through his shot-making.

“Just the ebbs and flows of the season,” Hauser told CLNS Media when asked about head coach Joe Mazzulla’s communication with him about his role. “Payton [Pritchard]’s been playing really well, other guys have been playing really well, so he’s rolling with them, and that’s cool. As a coach, you have to feel it out, and what’s working [is] working, you have to stay with that. And if that means some guys get demoted to their minutes, it is what it is. So, nothing really to complain about, I just gotta keep working.”

Pritchard and Hauser have flip-flopped in the rotation over the last week or so. At the start of the year, Pritchard was picking up DNPs, while Hauser was red-hot from distance. Now, it’s the opposite, as Pritchard has emerged as an important sparkplug off of Boston’s bench, and Hauser has…

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