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Celtics offense continues to reach new heights with dominant performance over Knicks

“Our offensive identity is pretty set in stone.”

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Boston Celtics set a franchise record for made threes against the New York Knicks on Friday night, nailing 27 triples. And while that incredible feat will undoubtedly steal headlines, it’s just a testament to the elite-level offense that Joe Mazzulla has overseen all season long.

“I love three-pointers. I like math,” Mazzulla said after Boston’s recent win over the Washington Wizards.

After Boston’s win at Madison Square Garden, Jayson Tatum said that their offensive efforts are just a result of building off of last year’s success.

“Just continue to build off last season. I think we’ve started off as a much better offensive team than we did last season. Just trying to get our defense to match.”

So far this season, the Celtics are tied for the best offensive rating in the league (117.5) alongside the Dallas Mavericks. That number is inching toward the mark they set from February to the end of the regular season last year, when they recorded a 120.8 offensive rating.

Tatum said that since they have most of the same players from last year, it’s easy to continue the same trends.

“From the offensive standpoint - I think that’s just a carryover from the end of last season. We’ve got most of the same guys, so the message is kind of the same. Being familiar with the things that we’re trying to accomplish.”

Boston is home to two of the top-five three-point shooters in the league in terms of percentage. Grant Williams is in third (54.5%) while Sam Hauser is sitting in fifth (52.2%).

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images

Marcus Smart praised Hauser, in particular, who put up a career-high 17 points in their win over the Knicks.

“Got a knockdown shooter over there. It’s tough. It’s tough for you to help off of somebody like him. Then try to help Jayson, try to help on Jaylen, those guys and Malcolm, and me coming down the lane. It just makes it that much easier for us. And if they do stop us, you got a guy out there that you know is going to knock it down. It really keeps the defense honest.”

Hauser’s 17 points came on the back of a 5-for-8 shooting night from three-point range. Those five threes also marked a career-high in makes for the young sharpshooter, as he’s become a crucial part of Boston’s offense off the bench.

Mazzulla has stressed the importance of offense all season long, and the Celtics are reaping the rewards of his plans. They rank first in the league in points per game (118.8), sixth in field goal percentage (47.9), and fifth in three-point percentage (39.3%).

Despite some lackluster defensive performances, the interim head coach has his team off to a 6-3 start because of their offense. And while their defensive playstyle may change based on who’s available, he said that their offensive style if rock solid.

“I think our offensive identity is pretty set in stone. Our defensive identity changes a little bit because of our personnel and guys in and out of the lineup. But the one thing that hasn’t changed with our team is our effort. We play hard every night, which makes me comfortable, and it gives us a good chance to win every night.”

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