Celtics Notes: Hauser, Pritchard, Porzingis, Mazzulla

After a slow start to the season, Celtics reserve forward Sam Hauser has found his three-point stroke since the calendar flipped to November, writes Souichi Terada of MassLive. Hauser shot 3-of-15 from long distance in three October games, but he has been sizzling over his last six contests, connecting on 21-of-38 three-point attempts, including 4-of-6 in Saturday’s win over Toronto.

“It’s kind of my job,” he said. “It’s nothing crazy. Obviously it’s nice to see more go through than miss, so I’m really happy with that. But yeah, it’s my job, so I always have to be ready to make some shots.”

Hauser’s hot streak is providing a reliable weapon for a team that may have the best top six in the league, but entered the season with uncertainty about its bench. Hauser appears to have solidified his role in Boston’s rotation, as he’s playing a career-high 19.3 minutes through the first nine games.

“You can kind of dig your feet in a little bit you could say,” Hauser said. “And just knowing that your number’s going to get called more often this year than it was last year is pretty cool and you just want to make the most of it and kind of have gratitude with where you’re at.”

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Backup guard Payton Pritchard decided to stay away from social media during an early-season shooting slump, Terada adds in another story. Pritchard said he’s not bothered by the critics, even if he opts not to engage them online. “Keep hating,” he said. “This is just making me better. This is part of the journey. These slumps, I think end of the day will pay dividends and will make me a better player overall. Like I’m not hitting shots, so these last couple of games, I had to find other ways to impact it. So it’s making me an all-around player and not just a shooter.”
  • Kristaps Porzingis felt fine after playing in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. There had been questions about how often Porzingis would be used in those situations given his injury history, but he believes he can handle it. “I think last year I added a few things to my routine that I’ve been doing,” Porzingis said. “Honestly, I didn’t start the season in perfect shape. I think now I’m starting to feel the way I need to feel, and I’m still going to improve. Rhythm, feel, shot, everything is still going to get much better.”
  • The Raptors were upset that Joe Mazzulla used a coach’s challenge with a 27-point lead and 3:39 left in the game, Himmelsbach adds. Mazzulla defended his decision, saying he owes it to his players to keep coaching. “It was a clear opportunity for me to empower the players, let them know that I’m coaching you, and those minutes to me are just as important as the start of the game,” he said. “That’s what I told my players. I’ll always put them first.”
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