One night after handing the Golden State Warriors their largest home loss since their championship contention began a few years ago, the Boston Celtics stopped in Sacramento to face a young, talented Sacramento Kings squad. Fresh off of a game-high 30 points in the blowout victoyr over the defending champions, Gordon kept the momentum going on Wednesday night in the Celtics’ 111-109 win over the Kings.
In the final seconds of the game, Hayward shot and made a fade away jumper to break the tie and give the Celtics a two-point lead and ultimately the win.
“A lot of people have been trying to write him off and say he’s not going to be what he was and as a player, that’s tough man,” teammate Marcus Morris said about Hayward. “He’s doing a great job of bottling all that in and continue to play and continue to perform for us.”
Marcus Morris scored the game’s first basket and put the Celtics on the board 2-0. As they usually do, Boston took the lead and maintained it through most of the first quarter. Around halfway through, the tides turned and the Kings answered back. With 30 seconds left in the first quarter, Hayward hit his first basket of many throughout the night to bring the Cs to only down six. At the end of the first quarter, the score favored the Kings, 26-32.
Multiple assists from Gordon helped the Celtics knot the game at 47-47 with under two minutes left. At the one-minute mark before the end of the first half, Hayward cashed in on an 8-foot two point shot to put the Cs up two. Buddy Hield for the Kings dunked the ball with :30 left in the half to bring the game to 49-49 entering halftime.
Boston and Sacramento seemingly traded baskets throughout the entire 48 minutes, which made for an entertaining second half. With under 2:30 left in the third quarter and up two points, G made a 15-foot jumper to put Boston up by four.
Over the next two minutes, Al Horford got into the zone, scoring eight straight points for the Celtics to add to their lead. At the end of the third quarter the Cs led 82-77, but there was still 12 minutes to play.
To begin the fourth quarter of play, Hayward made an 11-foot pull-up jump shot courtesy of Al Horford to extend the Cs lead to seven. For the rest of the fourth quarter, every shot the Celtics made, the Kings seemingly had an answer. Every free throw by Boston, was seemingly returned by Sacramento. It wasn’t until there was 7.6 seconds left in the game that the Kings’ Buddy Hield shot a 3-pointer at near the top of the key, but was fouled by Hayward. Hield went on to make all three free throws to bring the game to a tie at 109-109.
With 7.6 seconds left, Marcus Morris inbounded the ball to G-Time. He took four dribbles up court, sprinting towards the basket. With just over three seconds, Hayward on a full sprint, pulled up to the left of the basket and shot a game-winner. Making up for his foul on the prior possession, G left just two seconds left for the Kings to answer, who were unable to cross half-court with the ball.
As a result, Hayward and the Celtics took home their second straight win on the road and improved to 40-26. After the game, Gordon was pleased to help his team get the win, especially because he was able to make up for his earlier mistake.
“It felt good, I mean I think it felt good more than anything because I almost lost us the game with the foul,” Hayward said. “So kind of trying to get that one back for us.”
The Cs once again pulled off a balanced team win. Six players scored 10 points or more, demonstrating the confidence the No. 5 team in the East places in each other. Forward Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 24 points, while center Al Horford put together a double-double with 21 points and 11 boards. Hayward was the story of the night with his game-winning two-point play that saved the game. He finished with 12 points, three rebounds, and five assists in his 29 minutes.
Boston becomes one of five teams in the Eastern conference with 40-plus wins and one of seven teams in the entire NBA with 40-plus wins.
The Celtics will play the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game can be watched on ABC.