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:
Dec. 1, 2018: Celtics at Timberwolves
Gordon put together his first 30-point performance of the season against the Wolves at the beginning of December in what was a breakthrough performance for Gordon. His first bucket of the night came at the end of the first quarter with 25 seconds left. That bucket gave the Celtics a 29-26 lead at the end of the first quarter, but more importantly, it sparked Gordon offensively for the rest of the game.
In the second quarter, hovering around the eight-minute mark, Gordon kept being aggressive on the offensively end and scored on a tip-in.
G-Time owned the final four minutes of the second quarter. First, he was fouled by Karl-Anthony Towns and added two more free throws. Then at 3:02 to play in the second, Kyrie Irving dished out a pass to an open Hayward who drained a 25-footer for three.
A few possessions later, Gordon drained another triple for Boston to extend the Celtics lead. The first half wrapped up, and Hayward found himself having a solid night with 12 points, 10 of them coming in the second quarter alone.
The second half is where G-Time really took off, however. In the third quarter, Hayward didn’t do much scoring, but he affected the game with his passing ability and rebounding. Gordon finished the night with a near triple-double, compiling nine rebounds and eight assists.
Hayward was a different animal in the fourth quarter. He compiled 16 points, including six free throws. Gordon led his team down the stretch to a 118-109 win on the road, scoring a game-high 30 points.
This was one of Hayward’s best games of the season and undoubtedly deserves the No. 2 spot on Gordon’s best games of the season because it helped pave the way for his success later in the season. Hayward shot extremely efficiently throughout the night, going 12-for-16 in the game. When making 10-plus baskets in a game, Hayward only had one better field goal percentage all season.