All season long, the Boston Celtics have been looking for some sort of positive consistency out of Gordon Hayward.
It appears they’re getting it.
The Celtics forward’s season understandably has been a bumpy one as he makes his way back from a gruesome knee injury suffered on Opening Night 2017. But with just a couple games remaining in the regular season, Hayward is starting to show flashes of what the Celtics need him to be, and it’s not just against doormat teams.
In the Celtics’ 112-102 victory over the Miami Heat, Hayward dropped a game-high 25 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field. He also grabbed eight rebounds with five assists and a block.
What’s troubled Hayward much of this season is that most of his best performances either came against a basement-dwelling team or with the Celtics having significant contributors out, and often he didn’t string multiple quality showings together in a row.
Miami is a desperate team right now, as it’s one of the three teams jostling for the Eastern Conference’s final four playoff spots. And though Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown were unavailable, the Celtics still had Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford looking for touches, but Hayward still found a way to stand above the rest. That he can do that under those circumstances with the playoffs around the corner is encouraging.
In his six games since returning from a concussion, Hayward has scored in double figures each time, even in a bench role. Plus, the Celtics have won all five games Hayward has reached the 20-point mark this season.
Talent always prevails in the postseason, and though consistency has eluded Hayward and the Celtics all season, him starting to contribute in bigger ways now really couldn’t time out better.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Celtics-Heat game:
— The Indiana Pacers earned a victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, making the Celtics’ victory all the more important.
Both teams have the same record, but the Celtics own the tiebreaker. The two sides will meet Friday in Indiana in what will be a huge tilt, as neither squad has been particularly sharp on the road this season. And since they all but certainly will meet one another in the first round of playoffs, securing home court advantage is huge.
— Aron Baynes obviously falls under the category of a “defensive specialist,” but he added some quality offensive numbers.
The big man tallied a double-double by scoring 10 points with as many rebounds. He started alongside Al Horford, and yet again the two combined to make a pretty sharp frontcourt.
— Speaking of Horford, he too had a nice night.
The big man continued his solid run of form by scoring 10 points on 10-for-16 shooting, adding eight rebounds and four assists.
Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images