Boston Celtics

Hauser, C's bench unit own their role, won't ‘let the standard drop'

"We are starting to really click as a team, and that's pretty exciting."

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The Boston Celtics' home win streak improved to 17 on Friday night, tying a franchise record with their blowout 126-97 victory over the Utah Jazz. With a dominant lead early on, Boston's bench unit took over in the second half and played as if the game was all tied up.

Starting to make a name for himself in Boston, Sam Hauser once again led the way for the Celtics' reserve unit. In his 23 minutes of play, the second-year wing logged 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, five rebounds, an assist, and a steal -- numbers that are all above his season averages.

Hauser, who has averaged 22.3 minutes per game this season, has emerged as one of Boston's most consistent bench pieces. Averaging 8.5 points on 45.3 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from deep, Hauser has proven himself to be a reliable shooter -- good enough to average the highest three-point percentage in franchise history. Going into Friday night's game, Hauser was also fifth in the NBA for 3-pointers off the bench with 70.

Following Friday night's home win, Hauser caught up with NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin to discuss the bench unit's impact.

"We had to come out and play Celtics basketball," Hauser said in response to their recent loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. "Just making winning plays and trying to do the little things well. I think me and Oshae [Brissett] brought energy to start the game, kind of open up the game a little bit, and our other guys in the second unit came in and brought energy as well."

Brissett benefitted from Boston's early lead by getting 17 minutes on the court, which he took full advantage of. The fourth-year wing was only able to log six points, but played a big part in Boston's transition game, securing three rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block. Brissett hasn't had a huge opportunity this season, playing on average just 11.2 minutes across 17 games, but has been efficient in his chances.

"It's to let the standard not drop at all," Hauser said of the second unit's responsibility when going into a game with a big lead. "We practice every day, we play every day, our job is to make sure the level doesn't drop when we go in, and I think tonight we did a good job of that. There have been times this season where we've let it drop a little bit, but I think we did a good job tonight."

While Boston was led by a 30-point performance from Jayson Tatum, the bench unit kept the pressure on Utah, combining for an additional 40. Without veteran Al Horford, the reserves did their job to keep Utah out of the game in the second half, combining for 26 rebounds, six steals, and three blocks.

"It's always good when you can get [the starters] on the bench, rest their legs up, especially for a back-to-back, and it's good for all of us [reserves] to get on the court as well, so we're just trying to take advantage of it," Hauser added.

Friday night's win marked the ninth straight game where the Celtics have scored at least 120 points. In the last nine games, the Celtics' bench unit has netted a positive plus/minus of 119, scoring a combined 30.3 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting.

"Moving the ball, trusting one another, doing what we do well, knowing our strengths, and playing to that," Hauser attributed the point streak to. "We are starting to really click as a team, and that's pretty exciting."

The Celtics will head to Indiana for the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday night for a revenge game against the Pacers. The last time the two faced off, the Pacers ended the Celtics' In-Season Tournament run by a score of 122-112.

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