Gordon Hayward’s debut season with the Boston Celtics was over before it started.
Just five minutes into the Opening Night tilt against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hayward’s attempt to finish off an alley-oop resulted in an awkward fall to the floor, a dislocated ankle, fractured left tibia and season-ending surgery.
Now, eight months after the incident, Hayward’s Celtics teammate who threw him the lob still is shaken up about what took place at Quicken Loans Arena.
During an appearance on “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Kyrie Irving opened up about his involvement in the season-altering sequence.
“I’m the one that threw the pass for the alley-oop, and I was just like holding on to that for a while,” Irving said, as transcribed by Boston.com’s Nicole Yang. “I’ll take part of the responsibility because he wasn’t really open — I saw D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) over there … He just came down wrong, and I was like, ‘Ah, f.’”
The Celtics went on to fare quite well without Hayward, and Irving for that matter, coming within one game of reaching the NBA Finals. The emotions toward what Hayward endured and how it changed the course of the campaign still sit with Irving, however.
“I just was pissed,” Irving said. “I was pissed for our team and, more or less, for Gordon. He was just now getting to start a rhythm in preseason. It was just tough.
“I’m still sick about it. Because we had a really good training camp, like a really good training camp.”
With the Celtics fresh off a stellar 2017-18 season, and both Hayward and Irving expected to be back to full health, Boston certainly is expecting another really good training camp in the coming months.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports
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