It’s been just over two years since the Celtics opened the season in Cleveland in a highly anticipated matchup between the expected two best teams in the Eastern Conference and, six minutes into the game, everything changed for Boston and Gordon Hayward.
Hayward’s gruesome ankle injury took the star off the floor for a full year, derailing their hopes of a Hayward-Kyrie Irving tandem taking down LeBron James and company. Hayward spent all of last season still working his way back into form, but never found a consistent level of success or comfort on the floor.
This season, things are off to a better start for Hayward as he entered Tuesday night’s game back in Cleveland averaging over 16 points and seven rebounds per game, hitting more than 55 percent of his three-point attempts on the year. The comfort and confidence seems to be back, and against a Cavs team that presents some opportunities with its defense, Hayward went off for 39 points to tie a career-high in a somewhat poetic return to the place where his career trajectory changed.
— NBA (@NBA) November 6, 2019
Hayward was super efficient in the 119-113 win over the Cavs, hitting 17-of-20 shots from the field, and looks to be as comfortable as we’ve seen him in his time in Boston attacking the rim and looking to be a playmaker. That’s a big deal for the Celtics, who need Hayward in that kind of role to help out Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. The spot-up shooting is also red hot, and Boston is off to a 5-1 start in large part due to the bounce back performance of Hayward to start the season.