Sam Hauser

Red-hot Sam Hauser sets Celtics 3-point record in win over Bulls

Hauser has been the NBA's best 3-point shooter since the All-Star break.

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How have the Boston Celtics won nine games in a row and 13 of their last 15 despite routinely missing at least one member of their starting five during that stretch?

Sam Hauser certainly factors into the equation.

The 26-year-old sharpshooter got the start Saturday night in Chicago with Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday all sidelined and responded by drilling 7 of 8 3-pointers, finishing with 23 points in Boston's 124-113 win over the Bulls.

Hauser's strong performance followed a 4 of 11 effort from distance Friday against the Detroit Pistons in his first game back from an ankle injury suffered against the Washington Wizards -- a game in which he fell just short of a franchise record with 10 3-pointers on 13 attempts.

In all, Hauser has hit 21 3-pointers in his last three contests, which surpasses his teammate Jayson Tatum (19 in January) for the most in franchise history over a three-game span.

"I think it's just a comfort level of knowing that his teammates are looking for him," Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said of Hauser after the win. "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."

Hauser is now up to 43.9 percent from 3-point range on the season -- fifth in the NBA -- and has been scorching since the All-Star break; he's made 53.5 percent (46 for 86) of his threes in that span, which ranks first in the NBA among players with at least 30 attempts.

It's an incredible luxury for the Celtics that the seventh or eighth member of their rotation is one of the league's best 3-point shooters. And while the playoffs will be the ultimate test for the third-year pro, he's certainly delivering down the stretch of the regular season to help Boston maintain its healthy lead atop the Eastern Conference standings.

"We live for these moments," Hauser said after the game. "When some guys are down with an injury, you get a chance to show what you can do on a big stage, and as a competitor, you thrive (off) that.

"You're motivated in those types of games to just show what you can do and show to the coaches, 'If you throw me into a certain game in the playoffs, I'll be ready to go.'"

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