5 takeaways from Celtics vs Raptors as Sam Hauser shines in loss


On Wednesday, two new faces looked like great additions to the Celtics rotation.

Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon heads for the basket against the Raptors. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The Celtics’ regular rotation players took a big lead against the Raptors in their second preseason game on Wednesday, only to see the Toronto bench rally in the fourth quarter and overtime for a 125-117 win.

Here are the takeaways.

1. Malcolm Brogdon fits this team like Brad Stevens went to a tailor and ordered a role player. When the Celtics need offense, Brogdon can go to the edge. When they need creation, he excels as a passer by finding 3-point shooters behind the arc (and as we’ll get to, the Celtics suddenly have a lot of 3-point shooters).

The Celtics’ bench offense desperately needed an injection of energy, creativity and shot-making. Brogdon – who finished with nine assists and four points on Wednesday – brings it all in a super bench role.

At some point in the second quarter (when rotations might still have counted), Mazzulla glanced at Brogdon with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum on the ground. Joe Mazzulla’s job becomes much easier if it turns out that Brogdon can keep the Celtics afloat even with Brown and Tatum on the bench, and – as Brogdon reminded reporters on Media Day – he was often a No. 1 offensive option with the Pacers.

2. Sam Hauser is automatic. The sniper made his first four 3-pointers and five of his first six before missing some contested looks later in the game when the Raptors didn’t have to respect other players on the field as much. Assuming he gets regular-season minutes — and his shooting suggests that’s a safe guess — Hauser will have plenty of good looks this year.

Will the Celtics actually miss Danilo Gallinari if Hauser shoots like this and continues to defend defensively? More minutes for Hauser could be positive. He had 22 points, four rebounds and two assists.

3. Jaylen Brown lost 23 points, three triples and a strong swear word in her halftime interview with Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston. Wednesday was a mid-season performance from the Celtics star, who looked excellent in the Celtics’ first two pre-season contests.

4. Jayson Tatum continued to struggle from 3-point range (0 for 7), which obviously isn’t particularly concerning but seems remarkable considering his tendency to heat up as the season goes on. The Celtics will be fine if Tatum turns him on at the end of the year, but if he hopes to make an MVP case, he’ll have to start knocking down triples when the regular season begins.

5. The Celtics held a 19-point lead in the third and fourth quarters, but the Raptors’ third string badly beat the Celtics’ third string late in the game and brought them back for the overtime victory. If you for any reason were worried about lineups with Justin Jackson, Brodric Thomas and Mfiondu Kabengele, Wednesday’s game proved you right.

We will have more takeout later in the evening.


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