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Sam Hauser happy to be “knocking down shots in front of the best fans in the NBA”

The 24-year-old forward dropped a career-high 24 points in the Celtics’ win over the Pistons.

Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics earned their fourth win in a row on Wednesday night, taking down the Detroit Pistons 128-112. It was a dominant performance from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who both surpassed the 30-point mark, but neither was the star of the show at TD Garden.

That title belonged to Sam Hauser who exploded for a career-high 24 points just a few nights after he set a career-high against the New York Knicks (17). Hauser shot 9-of-15 from the floor and 6-of-12 from three-point land, attempting the third-most shots on the team.

After the game, head coach Joe Mazzulla was asked what Hauser has done to earn the trust that he’s gotten. The coach kept it simple with his response: “not miss.”

So far this season, Hauser is shooting 53.3% from distance on roughly 4.1 shots per game. That mark puts him in the top-10 of all shooters in the league (alongside Grant Williams).

“Just fits in with the others guys, moves the ball, creates separation for himself and for others. And does a great job continuing to get better on the defensive end.”

Hauser has earned 14.6 minutes per game this year (including a career-high 31:51 against Detroit), which is up from the 6.1 he played last year in just 26 total appearances. He’s become a staple of Boston’s rotation, appearing in every contest and playing big-time minutes.

The forward was asked about Mazzulla’s “not miss” comment after the game, as well as what he thinks he’s done to earn extra minutes. He agreed with the coach’s sentiments, also noting that he’s earning Mazzulla’s trust slowly but surely.

“I think that you gotta show you can do it in the games and in game-like moments, and I think I’ve done that so far. Little by little, I think I’m earning more trust with Joe.”

Hauser went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft after spending four years in college - three at Marquette and then one at Virginia. Boston brought him in on a two-way contract before converting him to a standard deal mid-way through last year.

He’s doing more than just shooting for the Celtics this year, though. Hauser got a few easy buckets on cuts against the Pistons, moving off the ball with fluidity. He said that seeing a couple of easy shots go down helps a shooter’s confidence.

“I think when you see a couple of easy ones go, I think it opens up the whole floor for you and gives you more confidence in your shot.”

Jayson Tatum was the one finding Hauser on most of the cuts he made. Hauser was asked about matching up with Tatum in practice in training camp, noting that he thinks they can make each other better.

“In training camp, we guarded each other a little bit here and there. He’s hard to guard, obviously… It’s good for me to get a challenge like that. I hope I present a challenge as well… Hopefully, it’s an iron sharpens iron situation.”

Tatum scored 31 points to go along with five assists against the Pistons.

With Hauser playing so well, the city has gotten behind him. Every time he made a three against the Pistons, the crowd would erupt. Hauser said that it was a surreal moment to hear the crowd roaring for him, and that he’s grateful to be playing in front of “the best fans in the NBA.”

“It’s pretty cool. Kind of a surreal moment. You dream of this stage when you’re young. Finally being here, knocking down shots in front of the best fans in the NBA. I definitely don’t take it for granted.”

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