Celtics Notes: Surging Gordon Hayward Finally Justifying Playing Time

If we’re ever to see the Gordon Hayward of old, it probably won’t be until next season, at the earliest.

But as the playoffs near, the Boston Celtics forward is playing his best basketball of the season.

Hayward began Boston’s four-game West Coast road trip with 30 points in a blowout in over the Golden State Warriors, and followed it up with 12 points and a game-winning shot against the Sacramento Kings. He looked comfortable again Saturday night, scoring 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the Celtics’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Hayward’s season has felt like a roller coaster from the beginning. For every strong game, their are two ugly performances. However, the truth is that Hayward steadily has improved as the season has progressed.

He’s taken his game to another level in California, though.

Again, Hayward is far from being the same player he was with the Utah Jazz. He’s not nearly as explosive when driving to the basket, and his defense ranges from poor to just OK.

But if he can continue giving the Celtics performances like he gave Saturday night, he could be a major factor come playoff time.

Here are some other notes from Celtics-Lakers:

— It’s been a historic West Coast trip, as a matter of fact.

— Here’s the highly anticipated embrace between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James:

— James finished with a ho-hum triple double (30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds), while Irving finished with 30 points, five dimes and seven boards.

— Marcus Smart continued his hot shooting from beyond the arc, knocking down four of six 3-point attempts while pouring in 16 points.

Thumbnail photo via Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY Sports Images