Celtics

Celtics-Clippers Takeaways: Hayward’s impact, surprise bench help, redemption for Grant Williams

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

A mix of leftover observations and analysis after the Celtics' double-overtime win over the Clippers on Thursday night.  

1. Gordon Hayward’s late-game impact erased an ugly shooting night: It was one of the worst shooting nights of Hayward’s season, going a putrid 3-of-15 from the field in the first three quarters despite a healthy collection of open looks from all over the court. With Jaylen Brown out of the lineup, there was no question Stevens was going to ride Hayward regardless until the end of this one (game-high 48 minutes) and that loyalty paid off in both the fourth quarter and overtime. Not only did Hayward lead the team with a game-high 13 rebounds and added four assists on top of 21 points, he was second on the team in plus/minus +18 in the close win. He combined for 11 points and 7 rebounds in the game’s final 22 minutes.

Hayward single-handedly took the Celtics to the finish line in the closing two minutes with a clutch open 3, offensive rebound, block of Lou Williams (which resulted in a turnover) and heady play in the final minute to run maximum clock when rushing would not benefit the C’s. The fact he can have this positive of an impact during a miserable shooting night is what makes him the right kind of fit next to All-Stars like Tatum and Walker. He can help this team in a multitude of ways on any given night and isn’t going to pout when shots are not coming his way.

On a night where shots aren’t falling, Hayward still demands respect from opponents which helps to keep the floor open for Tatum, Walker or whoever has it going on any given night.