Gordon Hayward came to play Tuesday night in Cleveland.
The 29-year-old collected 22 first-half points en route to a regular-season career-high 39-point night, helping the Celtics take down the Cavaliers 119-113. Hayward added eight assists and seven rebounds, while Boston shot 56.5 percent in the win.
Kemba Walker (25), Tatum (18) and Carsen Edwards (13) all finished in double figures for Boston. Collin Sexton led the way for Cleveland with 21 points.
The Celtics improved to 5-1 with the win, while the Cavaliers fell to 2-5.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Gordon Hayward
C: Daniel Theis
HAYWARD COMES OUT HOT
Boston started 3-for-4 from the field and ultimately jumped to a 9-2 lead out of the gates. Hayward took charge from there, going 4-for-4 with 10 points in his first 10 minutes.
But he wouldn’t stop there. The forward toyed with Cleveland throughout the opening frame, finishing with 16 first-quarter points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting in 12 minutes. He was aggressive and confident taking the ball to the hoop from the get-go, helping the Celtics take a 32-24 lead after one. Here’s a look at Hayward’s impressive first:
Hayward combined with Walker to produce an 11-of-12 shooting clip, scoring 26 of Boston’s 32 points.
Boston shot 63.6 percent in the first, a huge improvement from their first-quarter average of 36.3 percent heading into Tuesday night.
Also worth noting: Javonte Green saw some first-quarter action as well for the first time in his career.
HOLDING OFF THE CAVS
The Celtics’ bench struggled to provide a scoring punch in the second quarter, posting just five points with three minutes left in the half. But the starters’ cushion allowed for some wiggle room, as Boston still maintained a six-point lead at the 3:49 mark of the quarter.
Cleveland cut the deficit to two with just under two minutes left in the half, but a Marcus Smart 3-pointer immediately moved the Boston lead back to five.
Hayward had a game-high 22 first-half points at the break on 9-of-9 shooting. Boston led 61-52 after two.
Boston’s offensive unit didn’t slow down in the second half. Walker, Tatum and Hayward continued their roll, pushing the lead out to 11 midway through the third quarter. Hayward was up to 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting at the 6:04 mark to go along with five rebounds and four assists.
Hayward was up to 30 points by the two-minute mark, but the Cavaliers refused to go away, cutting the deficit to four with 41 seconds left in the quarter.
Boston led 89-83 at the end of three.
FINISHING THE JOB
The Celtics’ held control of this one for the early portions of the final frame, with Gordon Hayward reaching a career-high of 37 points with five minutes left in the frame.
But an 11-2 Cavaliers run brought them within three with under a minute to go. Despite the push, Boston was able to hold off the feisty Cavs thanks to a clutch rebound and bucket from Hayward with 22 seconds remaining, pushing this to a two-possession game and ultimately locking up the win.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Robert Williams with authority.
The Celtics face the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday, with tip-off from Spectrum Center set for 8 p.m. ET.