The Celtics may finally have the version of Gordon Hayward that they invested a four-year max deal in, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Two years ago, Hayward suffered a severe ankle injury that wiped out virtually his entire 2017/18 season and limited his effectiveness throughout 2018/19.
But through the first six games of this season, he seems back to his All-Star self, averaging 20.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per night while emerging as the leader of Boston’s offense. The latest example came last night as he hit 17-of-20 shots from the field and posted 39 points in a win at Cleveland, then told reporters that he hopes to leave concerns about his ankle in the past.
“I don’t think about it,” Hayward said. “I haven’t thought about it for a while. Hopefully you guys can stop asking me questions about that.”
There’s more Celtics news to pass along:
- Some of Kemba Walker‘s former Hornets teammates shared their memories of him with Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer in advance of Walker’s return to Charlotte tomorrow night. Walker spent eight years in the city and set nearly every franchise scoring record before signing with the Celtics this summer. “If you didn’t know basketball, and you walked into our locker room, you wouldn’t guess that guy was the star,” Nicolas Batum said. “He never acted crazy with any of that star stuff, like skip practice or be lazy today.”
- With the G League season starting soon, fan favorite Tacko Fall will probably only make brief appearances with the Celtics, according to Tom Westerholm of MassLive. Fall is limited to 45 days in the NBA, and the team wants to maximize that time in case early-season injuries to its centers continue. “We’ve played multiple games now down two bigs,” coach Brad Stevens said. “So now we’re going to have him come up for one day (at a time) a lot I think, rather than a week at a time or two weeks at a time.”
- Marcus Smart had an injury scare during a collision last night, relays John Karalis of MassLive. “The oblique again, the exact same one, and it knocked the wind out of me,” Smart said in reference to the torn left oblique that limited his availability in last year’s playoffs. “It was scary because I thought the same thing was about to happen that happened last year. But thank God the oblique is stronger and it’s able to withstand hits like that, so that’s good.”