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

The Celts got a very famous playoff opponent when the Heat defeated Chicago on Friday night, writes Khari Thompson of The Boston Globe. The teams have faced off 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 that another meeting was inevitable.

“I knew it was going to be Miami. I already knew it from a few weeks ago,” Brown said. “It just comes from last year to this year, it just makes sense, so we’re looking forward to it. It should be a big challenge. Miami is a strong team, well coached, they play hard and they are physical. All things 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 added. Boston won all three games in the regular season, but Porzingis understands Miami is dangerous because of the way its players approach the playoffs.

“We should expect them to be ultra-aggressive.” he said. “Very handy and they try to do all the little dirty things they can. No nasty stuff, just to screw up the game a bit to gain some advantages. And yes, we have to be ready for that. It will be war.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Lucas Kornet will miss Sunday’s opener with a strained right calf, according to Souichi Terada of MassLive. The backup big man was part of the rotation, but Terada notes the Celtics have other options due to a midseason trade for Xavier Tilman and the recent conversion of Neemias Queta‘s two-way contract. No explanation was given for when or how Kornet was injured.
  • Of Sam Hauser The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach is developing into a dangerous three-point weapon off the Celtics bench and looks back on the night the sharpshooter decided to join the organization. Moments after the 2021 draft ended, Hauser received two-way contract offers from the Celtics and Timberwolves, along with the 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 on the phone, my dad said, ‘Why don’t you just sleep on it?'” Hauser said. “And I said to him, ‘We have ten minutes.’ So we all sat down and talked a bit about the options and came to the conclusion that Boston was probably the best place for me.
  • The Athletic’s Jared Weiss and Jay King spoke to scouts and coaches about the best strategies to counter the Celtics’ defense.