The Celtics were shorthanded on the second night of a back-to-back, and it would not have been a surprise if they lost to the Toronto Raptors. But Luke Kornet came through exemplifying the next-man-up mentality Joe Mazzulla expects from Boston.

Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis were ruled out for Friday’s matchup at TD Garden. Sam Hauser and Kornet got the starting nods, but Boston was coming off an overtime win over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday. The Raptors had an advantage, but Jaylen Brown, who sat out Thursday, came through to maintain the Celtics’ undefeated home record.

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Kornet had a breakout performance of his own. The ninth-year center scored 20 points off 9-for-11 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks in 33 minutes. Kornet had been out of the rotation since Dec. 12 as Neemias Queta earned minutes. However, he understood sacrifice sometimes needs to be made, and that unselfish attitude is what he brings to the locker room and why he’s called the “ultimate teammate.”

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“I do feel like I thought I was there earlier in my life and my career,” Kornet told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston video. “Frankly, I feel like it was quite a bit of suffering I’ve had in my career that kind of opened it up. You just realize that playing for yourself wasn’t going well when it was kind of all about yourself as well. Just doing anything for yourself is not a very higher, fulfilling goal.

“Also part of my life as a husband and father definitely helped shape things in terms of realizing the best things I feel about in my life are the things that I’m actually doing for other people. At different points but starting in my time in Maine, I really made it a focus of just like, we’re here as a team, let’s all figure it out and make each other better. You’re able to share your joy a whole lot more, and you’re also able to dissipate your struggles when you’re connected with everybody else. I do feel like it’s the most fulfilling way to go about it. It also makes it so when days like this come, you’re grateful they’re able to happen. But if it’s not for Derrick (White), (Jaylen Brown), Sam (Hauser) and Payton (Pritchard), they’re helping me out. I’m trying to do my job to help them out. …”

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When president of basketball operations Brad Stevens traded away Marcus Smart, Grant Williams, Robert Williams III and Malcolm Brogdon last offseason, there was concern Boston forfeited its depth to build a top-heavy roster with the additions of Jrue Holiday and Porzingis. However, Kornet showed there’s still plenty of depth to keep the Celtics going throughout the regular season and allow others to rest, which could pay off in the long run.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images