Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown sat out Wednesday’s game, but the Celtics scored 112 points in a win over Philadelphia because of the performance of several complementary players, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Jrue Holiday made his first start, and he and Derrick White kept the offense humming, but Weiss points to Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard as the stars of the night.
Hauser finished with 15 points and three assists and showed an improved ability to switch effectively on defense, Weiss states. He also observes that the third-year small forward appears crisper in releasing his jumper and is moving with more purpose on offense. Weiss believes free agent addition Svi Mykhailiuk is on his way to earning a rotation spot, so Hauser will have to keep producing in the preseason to have a chance at regular minutes.
There’s more on the Celtics:
- Dalano Banton is trying to earn a roster spot, but he didn’t help his cause with Wednesday’s performance, Weiss adds. Banton started the second half, but was pulled from the game after 34 seconds after failing to dive for a rebound that landed at his feet. “Listen, there’s nothing more important than holding people to a high standard, especially when you believe in them and know they can be really, really good,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “… Everybody on the roster competes at a high level and understands that taking pride in defense is number one.”
- Pritchard is making his new four-year, $30MM extension look like a bargain, Weiss notes. He had 17 points and three assists in 24 minutes Wednesday and looks like he’ll be an important component in Boston’s offense. Bobby Marks of ESPN breaks down Pritchard’s new contract, which will pay him $6.7MM in 2024/25, followed by $7.2MM, $7.8MM and $8.3MM the following seasons (Twitter link). His salary will range from 4.7% to 5.1% of the cap.
- The Celtics are using the preseason to experiment with the different possibilities that Kristaps Porzingis brings to the offense, Weiss writes in a separate story. Porzingis displayed his versatility in Sunday’s opener, Weiss observes, successfully executing rim rolls, pick-and-pops and spot-up three-point shots. “I thought we passed up some open shots, but he gives us a different dynamic,” Mazzulla said. “(He) makes the game easier for all the guys, and it’s gonna continue to get better.”