No, Gordon Hayward isn’t coming back to the Boston Celtics this season (we’re pretty sure), but the C’s forward believes they’re capable of keeping this run going without him.
Boston has been without Hayward since opening night, when he broke his ankle in a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even without him — and now without Kyrie Irving — Boston has found a way to win two playoff series, setting up an Eastern Conference finals matchup with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In a lengthy blog post Friday, Hayward reflected on the progress the Celtics have made this season and into the playoffs, and he unsurprisingly is 100 percent buying into Boston’s chances of knocking off the Cavs and earning a trip to the NBA Finals.
“Taking down Cleveland is definitely going to be a challenge for us. I believe we’re capable of it,” Hayward wrote.
“It’s going to take a complete team effort. We’re going to have to get scoring from multiple different guys. We’re going to have to execute defensively.
“But that’s exactly what we’ve done all postseason long. It’s what this team is about. We’re relying on every guy, not just one. That’s one of our biggest strengths. We can attack matchups based on how they’re guarding us, and we have the personnel to do that.”
Hayward, of course, gave James his proper credit — “You’re not going to stop him” — but he thinks that if Boston can slow down James and contain Cleveland’s role players, the C’s will be able to pull the upset.
Writes Hayward; “It seems like some of those other guys are getting hot, and they’re playing really well right now as a team, not just LeBron. They’re rolling right now, and peaking at the right time. But I have no doubt that we can beat them.
“We’ve shown throughout the year that we can beat anybody in the league on any given night. We’re going to have to play extremely well to beat them four times.
“But we can do it. And I believe that we will.”
Hayward also gave an update on his own progress. He’s putting in long days of rehab, and it’s paying off, as he says he’s finally back to “feeling like an athlete again.” However, there weren’t any hints at a comeback for this series or the NBA Finals.
Thumbnail photo via John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports Images
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