After a year of watching from the sidelines and rehabbing, Gordon Hayward returned to the court for the Boston Celtics during the 2018-19 NBA season. As the Celtics earned their way to the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, Gordon had his share of memorable moments and performances as he re-acclimated to the NBA game and learned the tendencies and strengths of his teammates in his first full season of playing with the team. By season’s end Gordon proved that he will still be a force to be reckoned with in the NBA for years to come. The following is a series that ranks Gordon’s top-five performances from the 2018-19 regular season:
April 3, 2019: Celtics at Heat
Everything that Hayward had worked for throughout the season came together as was apparent at the beginning of April in Dwayne Wade’s final game against the Celtics. Despite Wade’s career coming to a close, Gordon was the star of the show, compiling 25 points and eight rebounds, being an aggressive force on the offensive end.
Gordon attacked the rim early and often, leading to 12 made free throws in the 112-102 win. Hayward’s 12 made free throws tied the total amount of free throws made by the entire Miami Heat team. When G was on the floor, the Cs were +16 as they made their push for playoff positioning.
Hayward’s first points of the night came on a nice feed from Kyrie Irving, who found Gordon open for his first of three three-pointers in the game.
Moving into the second quarter, Hayward found his rhythm and scored seven points in the quarter to keep Boston in front at halftime. With just over four minutes remaining in the first half, Gordon drained his second triple of the night. And on the following possession, Gordon drew a foul on Goran Dragic, and knocked down a pair of free throws to close out the half strong. At the end of the half, the Celtics led the Heat 53-49.
The Heat kept the game close until late in the fourth quarter, but they could never quite overtake Gordon and his teammates in early April, as they consistently answered with the ball in their hands.
Gordon poured in eight more points in the final frame to keep the Heat at bay, and Boston would go on to win by 10 as they came one step closer to earning the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.