Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics wrapped up their preseason on Tuesday with a dominant 118-95 win over the Cleveland Cavilers at Quicken Loans. The win capped a strong, productive couple of weeks of preseason action for Gordon and his new teammates as the 2019 Celtics continue to build chemistry for the upcoming season.
Gordon’s action in the preseason, playing in three of the four games and playing no more than 23 minutes in a game, but his time on court was effective and gave fans a preview of what might be in store for them this season.
In the preseason opener against the Charlotte Hornets, Gordon scored nine points and racked up three rebounds and three assists, one of which was a beautiful alley-oop to Robert Williams for the first two points of the game. Jayson Tatum led Boston in scoring with 20 points on a hot shooting night against Charlotte in a narrow 107-106 win.
Defensively, the C’s played outstanding during the final 5:34 of the third quarter, holding Charlotte scoreless. During that span they were able to turn a 16-point deficit to just a one-point deficit – allowing them to take the lead and the win in the fourth quarter.
After one close victory, the Celtics dominated the rest of their preseason, starting in Orlando against the Magic, where the Celtics jumped out to a 35-11 lead after the first quarter. Gordon again added nine points in the decisive victory, including a first quarter slam, and the Celtics went on to win 100-75.
The trio of Gordon, Tatum, and Jaylen Brown combined for 35 points, 16 rebounds and and six assists in limited minutes, and when those three are all on their game, Boston will be tough to beat this season as they were in Orlando.
“When Tatum, Hayward and Brown can all be aggressive and play off one another, that’s really good for us,” head coach Brad Stevens said.
Gordon’s final action of the preseason came in their third contest, and No. 20 saw just 17 minutes as the Celtics began to rest some starters and give younger players more of an opportunity before the regular season begins. Gordon contributed three points with three assists and a rebound as Boston trounced Cleveland by a score of 118-72.
Gordon saw limited minutes largely due to the success of the C’s rookie class. Although every rookie has had flashes throughout the preseason, it was Max Strus, an undrafted 6-foot-6-inch wing out of DePaul, who was most impressive against Cleveland in the first of their two back-to-back games to end the 2019 preseason.
Despite being scoreless throughout his first two preseason games, the first-year Celtic scored a game-high 14 points, while also tallying four rebounds and a pair of assists during 17 minutes of action.
In the preseason finale, the starters were held out, and the young guys were given another chance to shine. This time, Carsen Edwards broke out, dropping 30 points in Cleveland in another Boston win over the Cavaliers.
The rookie out of Purdue showed why the Celtics drafted him this offseason, exploding for eight three-pointers in the third quarter alone. Having a young talent like Edwards off the bench this season could go a long way in making the Celtics a legitimate contender.
Boston has plenty of proven firepower in their starting lineup, with Kemba Walker, Gordon, Tatum, Brown and Marcus Smart, but the influx of all this young talent is something that Coach Stevens is excited about.
“I've never seen anything like that."
Brad Stevens on Carsen Edwards' third quarter performance (made eight 3-pointers in 5:06, finished with a game-high 30 points). pic.twitter.com/ZfppJfPjhp
— Andrew Pogar (@AndrewPogar) October 16, 2019
Next up for Hayward and the C’s is the Philadelphia 76ers to open the regular season. The last time Hayward played a regular season game in Philly at the Wells Fargo Center was February 12 last season. G-Time put up 26 points and shot 72% from the field, including 86% from behind the arc. He also tallied four rebounds and three assists. Hayward will look to duplicate that performance to get off to a fast start in 2019.
Hayward and the rest of his Celtics teammates will begin their campaign on the road against the 76ers with tip-off set for 6:30 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on ESPN.