Celtics Reserve Luke Kornet Reveals Simple Secret to Recent Success

Luke Kornet

Getty Luke Kornet has come up with some big minutes for the Boston Celtics this season.

Before this season, who knew the impact Luke Kornet would have with the Boston Celtics? The Celtics beefed up their frontcourt with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis, pairing him with veteran center Al Horford.

Kornet, in his fourth season with the Celtics, was expected to be found way at the end of the bench this season on a star-studded Boston team. Instead, he’s proven to be one of the most valuable reserves. After a game against the Chicago Bulls in which he pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds, Kornet spoke about the main ingredient that has been key to his success this season — effort.

Luke Kornet Has Been a Key Contributor off the Bench for the Celtics

After adding Porzingis and Jrue Holiday this offseason, the Celtics arguably have the best starting five in the NBA. Boston owns the best record in the league at 57-14.

The biggest question mark for the Celtics coming into this season was depth. Horford was the only proven commodity coming off the bench. Kornet, Sam Hauser, and Payton Pritchard had seen some minutes in previous seasons, but none were expected to make a significant impact.

That’s all changed. All three have been key contributors to Boston’s success, but Kornet is the one who has been the biggest surprise this year.

A year ago, the 7-foot-2 center from Vanderbilt, averaged 11.7 minutes per game, many of them coming in garbage time. He never started a game in the 69 games he played last year.

With the Celtics being overly cautious with the oft-injured Porzingis, Kornet has made five starts this year and is playing 15.6 minutes. He’s playing valuable minutes and said effort has been the key to his success.

“You know, effort is about 80 percent of the battle,” Kornet told Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston after the win over the Bulls. “I was just doing it, trying hard. Yeah, kids, just try hard.

“That’s most of the battle. Being tall helps. Sometimes, the ball comes to you. Other times, you try really hard, and it doesn’t come to you.”

Horford Gets an Up-Close View of Kornet’s Effort

The Celtics played the Bulls without three starters. Hauser, Horford, and Kornet all stepped into the starting lineup as Porzingis, Holiday, and Jaylen Brown all sat for various reasons. Horford and Hauser each finished with 23 points and combined for 12 3-pointers. Kornet added eight points to go along with his huge rebounding night in 31 minutes of work.

Horford pointed out Kornet’s impact on the team.

“Unbelievable,” he told Chin. “His energy, relentless on the glass, key offensive rebounds, tapouts, putbacks. He’s doing everything for us down there.”

Kornet was part of the Celtics group that helped break open a three-point lead to start the fourth quarter that allowed the Celtics to pull away for their ninth straight victory. Horford admitted that was the key point in the win over the Bulls.

“I felt like we got a great start in the fourth quarter,” Horford said of the Celtics, who scored the first five points of the quarter. “That unit that was in there really set the tone for us. Once we got in there, we were able to just close the game out.”

The Celtics shoot for their 10th straight victory when they face the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, March 25.

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