On Tuesday night, one Celtics All-Star (Kemba Walker) shot an ugly 5-of-19 from the field. Another likely All-Star (Jayson Tatum) sat on the bench to rest a strained groin. Yet, the Celtics still managed to put together their best road win of the year, handing a feisty Heat squad a 109-101 defeat, just their third loss of the year on their home floor.
The star of the show in the victory was none other than Gordon Hayward, who posted a game-high 29 points and 9 rebounds. It was the second-best scoring night of Hayward’s season along with the most free-throw attempts (10) of his year since opening night. The added production was exactly what the Celtics needed (combine with 25 points from Jaylen Brown) on a night their starting backcourt combined to shoot 8-of-32 from the field but the strong effort was not just a blip on the radar for Hayward.
The veteran’s 29 points marked the third consecutive game that he scored 20-plus points which marks the very first time in his Celtic career that he accomplished that feat. More importantly for Boston, Hayward is reverting back into the player we saw at the beginning of the season before a broken hand and sore foot sidetracked him for several weeks.
Ever since a 1-of-10 dud in Milwaukee two weeks ago, Hayward has been the best all-around player on the Celtics roster, capped by one of the most efficient performances of the year in Miami (10-of-14 FG). A glimpse of Hayward’s numbers over the last six games shows a player that is giving the Celtics whatever they need on any given night.