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.
Key to a championship @gordonhayward being aggressive
— Javier Jackson Jr (@havs8185) March 10, 2020
— CelticsFanPod (@CelticsFanPod) March 10, 2020
Four points, three rebounds and one steal for Gordon Hayward in his first five minutes.
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) March 10, 2020
Theis with the clean block on one end
Hayward hit the 3 on the other
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 10, 2020
Gordon Hayward looking sharp early in this one at home in Indy.
— Justin A. Byers (@Justin_A_Byers) March 10, 2020
— IndyStar Sports (@IndyStarSports) March 10, 2020
Gordon Hayward. pic.twitter.com/FbtGfBZ8rr
— Luke R. (@wickedsportsfan) March 10, 2020
Gordon Hayward leads C’s with 13 points
— Brooks Smith (@I_Am_A_Celtic31) March 10, 2020
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.
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 11, 2020
Gordon Hayward is outworking the Pacers to open the half
— Greg Brueck-Cassoli (@GregCassoli) March 11, 2020
Gordon Hayward is balling right now man, you love to see it. Don’t let this lead slip Celtics
— Lil Squeak (@lil_squeakk) March 11, 2020
Gordon Hayward looks fantastic tonight for #Celtics
Has been aggressive on both sides of the ball and is up to 21 PTS on 7/12 shooting
— Backcourt Violation (@backcourtv) March 11, 2020
Gordon Hayward is very good at basketball. This has been a tweet. Thank you. #Celtics
— CelticsContent (@CelticsContent) March 11, 2020
Gordon Hayward has 15 games of 20+ points and 6+ rebounds this year.
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) March 11, 2020
— David Woods (@DavidWoods007) March 11, 2020
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.
Nice homecoming for Gordon Hayward so far. Leading the way for the #Celtics with 25 points, 12 in the third quarter. To go along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
— Abby Chin (@tvabby) March 11, 2020
Gordon Hayward does not get enough credit for what he’s brought to this team this season !
— Ty march (@TyyGlizzy) March 11, 2020
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.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 11, 2020
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.”
— Champagnepapi (@DARRIANNOLAND) March 11, 2020
— Hardwood Houdini (@HoudiniCeltics) March 11, 2020
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 11, 2020
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) March 11, 2020
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.