Gordon Hayward was excited to have a full offseason of training under his belt heading into the 2019-20 season. He was optimistic that the extra hours in the gym would pay off on the court this year, allowing him to return to his old self.
If Wednesday night is any indication, Hayward is back to his old self. The veteran wing led all scorers with 25 points in the C’s hard-fought, 107-93 loss to the 76ers.
The most impressive aspect of G-Time’s game was his aggressiveness. He drove to the rim more than a dozen times last night and looked confident and comfortable doing so. Last year, that wasn’t always the case for No. 20.
Gordon Hayward had 18 drives last night.
Last year he averaged only 5.7 drives per game. For comparison, James Harden averaged NBA-high 19.6 dpg.
— Tomek Kordylewski (@Timi_093) October 24, 2019
Going hand-in-hand with his aggressive play, Gordon had a solid night shooting the ball as well. Hayward shot 8-for-15 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free-throw line, earning his 25 points for the game. That’s a mark that he reached or surpassed just five times all of last season.
Despite Gordon’s excellent shooting night, the C’s as a whole were unable to top the 100-point mark and dropped the opener to an extremely talented 76ers team that added former Celtic Al Horford in the offseason.
Philly looked impressive on the defensive end especially, holding Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum in check, but that didn’t phase Brad Stevens, who expects big things from that duo the rest of the season.
“All that means with Kemba and Tatum is there’s a lot of good nights coming,” Stevens said.
Tonight’s game was very emblematic of the grind that is the NBA season. In an 82-game season, there are highs and there are lows just as there was in last night’s contest against Philadelphia. Just when Boston would get rolling, Philly answered on Wednesday night.
However, G-Time saw a lot of positives to take from the game moving forward, and he believes they have a lot to be excited about as they continue through the early part of their schedule because of how they competed against Philly.
“I mean that’s the life of being on the road. It seemed like we would get a five, six, or seven-point lead and they would make a run and get it right back to two, feeding off their crowd and their little bit of momentum. Similar thing in the second half. It felt like once they had a lead, we battled all the way back and I think we were down three or four and brought it back up to ten, and that’s tough. I’m proud that we competed tonight, the whole night. I think there’s a lot of things we can improve on. I think we did some good things as well, but we’ll look at the film and get to play at our place in the home opener. Extremely excited about that but certainly a lot to learn from,” Hayward said.
The Celtics will look to bounce back on Friday night as they welcome the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors to the TD Garden. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.