Since returning from a knee contusion that cost him two-and-a-half games, Gordon Hayward has gotten back to basics and it’s paying off in a big way for the Boston Celtics.

On Tuesday night in his hometown of Indianapolis, G recorded his eighth double-double of the season and the Celtics survived a late rally from the home team to beat the Pacers 114-111.
Gordon finished with 27 points on 10-of-19 from the field, including 3-for-7 from deep and added 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block in a team-high 36 minutes.

But it almost wasn’t enough as Indiana mounted a 21-2 run midway through the fourth to turn a 16-point Celtics lead at the 7:40 mark to a three-point deficit with 2:14 to go. But big buckets down the stretch by Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis and Marcus Smart and some late stops from the Boston defense helped them retake the lead and hold on for the win.

Afterward, Gordon spoke on how the Celtics refused to let the game get away.

“[We] just tried to compose ourselves there. It was a ridiculous run. Especially with the things we’ve been going through of late, we could have collapsed,” he said. “We were just trying to hold it together. It was good that we were able to make some plays there at the end to help us win the game. Credit them, they hit some shots and made that run. It’d have been a lot better if we had put the game away.”

For a while, it appeared as though the Celtics would run away with the road win. Boston jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first frame and led by eight after one. Gordon was a huge part of the Cs establishing momentum in the first, pouring in nearly half (13) of his 27 points in the first frame, while also grabbing four boards and dishing out a pair of assists.

By the time Gordon returned to the floor midway through the second, Boston’s lead was up to 15. Indiana pushed back, but a dime from G to Daniel Theis with just seconds left in the half gave the Cs a nine-point halftime edge.

The start of the second half saw G-Time go back on the attack. He buried a trey just 34 seconds into the third to push the lead back to double digits. Then a few plays later he drove to the bucket and although he missed his initial look, he got his own rebound and tipped it in to make it 66-54 Boston two minutes into the half.

The Celtics continued to move the ball and less than two minutes later, No. 20 splashed from the corner off a feed from Marcus Smart to put his total for the evening at 21 points and give Boston a 15-point lead.

G-Time added another bucket moments later and the Celtics pushed the pace and their lead all the way up to 19 points when Gordon finished off an alley-oop from Jayson Tatum with a jam to make it 87-68 Boston.

At the end of the third, Boston led handily, 94-80. Indiana began chipping away, but Gordon returned to the floor early in the fourth and tipped in a Brad Wanamaker miss to make it 102-86 with 7:40 to go. Unfortunately, that was the last basket Boston would score for more than three minutes as the Pacers pushed back in a big way. When Jayson Tatum stopped the run with a dunk off a feed from G-Time, the score was 104-96.

But from there Boston went through another scoring drought as Indiana scored the next 11 consecutive points to take a 107-104 lead. Again it was a dime from G-Time that set up the end to the run as he found a wide-open Daniel Theis for a trey to tie it at 107-107.

Next, it was Tatum who tied it at 109-each. Then Marcus Smart drove in for a layup to give Boston the lead with 49.9 to go. The Celtics got a stop on the ensuing possession and then did their job at the free-throw line to close out the win. Afterward, Gordon commented on how resilience in the face of adversity can be beneficial for Boston in the weeks ahead.

“Trying to find ways to win is the benefit. In my opinion, it would have been nicer to win by 20 but I think it is good to be in those situations. They help you,” he said. “Those experiences are something that we all need, it will help us moving forward and I’m happy that we got the win.”

The Celtics will be back in action on Thursday night as they finish off their brief road trip with a visit to Milwaukee to face off with the Bucks. Tip-off is slated for 8pm and the game will air nationally on TNT.