Celtics Notes: Heat Rivalry, Brown, Porzingis, Kornet, Hauser

The Celtics got a very familiar playoff opponent when the Heat defeated Chicago Friday night, writes Khari Thompson of The Boston Globe. The teams have faced each other in three of the past four Eastern Conference finals, with Miami winning last year and in 2020 and Boston prevailing in 2022. With all the history between the two organizations, Jaylen Brown believed another meeting was inevitable.

“I knew it was going to be Miami. I knew it from a few weeks back,” Brown said. “Just coming from last year to this year, it just makes sense, so we’re looking forward to it. It should be a great challenge. Miami is a tough team, well coached, they play hard, and they’re physical. All the things that we need to emphasize. So it should be fun.”

Kristaps Porzingis, who was acquired in a trade last summer, is looking forward to his first experience with the Celtics-Heat rivalry, Thompson adds. Boston won all three regular season matchups, but Porzingis understands that Miami is dangerous because of how its players approach the play0ffs.

“We have to expect them to be ultra-aggressive,” he said. “Ultra-handsy and trying to do all the little dirty things they can. Not dirty things, but to mess up the game a little bit to get some advantages. And, yeah, we have to be ready for that. It’s going to be a war.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Luke Kornet will miss Sunday’s opener with a strained right calf, according to Souichi Terada of MassLive. The backup big man has been part of the rotation, but Terada notes that the Celtics have other options due to a midseason trade for Xavier Tillman and the recent conversion of Neemias Queta‘s two-way contract. No explanation was provided for when or how Kornet was injured.
  • With Sam Hauser developing into a dangerous three-point weapon off the Celtics’ bench, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe looks back at the night the sharpshooter decided to join the organization. Moments after the 2021 draft ended, Hauser got two-way contract offers from the Celtics and Timberwolves, along with an opportunity to join the Heat’s Summer League team and compete for a two-way deal. All three teams wanted an answer right away so they could pursue other players if they didn’t land Hauser. “When I got off the phone, my dad was like, ‘Well, why don’t you just sleep on it?’” Hauser said. “And I told him, ‘We’ve got 10 minutes.’ So we all just kind of sat down and talked about the options and came to the conclusion that Boston was probably the best spot for me.”
  • Jared Weiss and Jay King of The Athletic talked to scouts and coaches about the best strategies for countering the Celtics’ defense.
View Comments (3)