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Sam Hauser’s off-ball movement proving to be lethal weapon for Boston Celtics offense

Sam Hauser’s off-ball movement proving to be lethal weapon for Boston Celtics offense

Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis controlled the game on Monday night. The Boston Celtics took down the Charlotte Hornets, and the two stars acted as puppeteers of the offense. But Sam Hauser took center stage.

As Tatum and Porzingis picked apart the Hornets, there was always space on the floor, and Hauser always managed to find said space.

If two guys went to the ball, Hauser found room to get open. If the Hornets were lost in transition, Hauser made them pay. If Charlotte tried to stop a drive with help defense, Hauser was right there, ready to receive a pass.

His big night was highlighted by a falling-away three in the corner that came off a transition opportunity.

It was his fifth triple of the evening, and at that point, all he needed was the ball and space to get the shot up.

“If I can get my feet down underneath me and explode up, I think it has a good chance of going in,” Hauser said.

Hauser finished the night with a team-high 25 points while shooting 7-of-9 from beyond the three-point line.

Payton Pritchard and Hauser have developed great chemistry over the course of the season. The bench duo ranks 13th in assist combos on the team, as Pritchard has dished out 43 dimes to Hauser this year (not including Monday night’s affair).

Being a great shooter is one thing, and being able to move without the ball is another. But Hauser’s ability to understand and react to his teammate’s tendencies is what makes him such a powerful weapon in Boston’s offense.

“Yeah, I mean, I’m sprinting to the corner, and then if he starts to snake dribble to the middle, I’m gonna try to fill back up,” Hauser said of his chemistry with Pritchard. “I think throughout this year, I’ve kind of gotten a feel of playing with him playing with D-White playing with Jrue [and] seeing what they like to do.”

The Celtics’ star power is what makes them a good team, but their role players make them great. Having comfortable off-ball players makes a world of a difference, especially when the starting lineup consists of five guys who thrive with the ball in their hands.

As Tatum, Porzingis, and the rest of the first five go through their progressions, slowly breaking down the defense, Hauser is always there.

“His confidence,” Joe Mazzulla said on how Hauser has grown this season. “But I think just layers of our offense is what unleashes him and the guys’ understanding that he’s a weapon in different ways. And so when we get to the second and…

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