Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
But when the third quarter of Boston’s 115-112 win began, Hayward showed flashes of the form that is more familiar.
On the first possession he completed a strong drive to his right and made a layup as he was fouled. And the more important moment came a few minutes later, when Charlotte’s Jeremy Lamb broke free on a fast break and appeared to have an open dunk or layup. Hayward caught up to him and went up with him, swatting his shot out of bounds. Then, in an even bigger moment, he took a hard fall before bouncing back up on his surgically-repaired left ankle.
Through these two games against the Hornets, it is clear that Hayward is not yet close to being the player the Celtics are confident he will be. But there is value in these minutes. There is value in a chase-down block that is followed by a hard fall that reminds him that he will be able to get up again.
“I think each time I do something new that I haven’t done, it definitely builds more confidence for me, just from a physical standpoint,” Hayward said, “knowing my leg is stable and is going to hold up.”
Hayward went to the bench with 4 minutes, 28 seconds left in the third quarter, and as he sat down, a fan in the Garden’s lower bowl yelled, “Welcome back, bro!”
If I’m truly going to enjoy this season, I need to get over these injury yips and fast.
And it’s not just about Gordon Hayward. I’m gasping every time Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum drives to the hoop. This photo of Al Horford in a wrist bandage nearly induced a seizure.
I have zero concerns about the players finding individual rhythms and all of them coming together under Brad’s system.
This season is going to be special as long as everyone stays healthy.
On Page 2, Robert Williams looks better than I thought he would.
With the Celtics up just one point and 15 seconds remaining, Charlotte shooting guard Malik Monk pulled up for a deep three and was rejected thanks to the reach of Williams. Fellow rookie Brad Wanamaker caught hold of the block and tossed it to a wide-open Williams in transition, who then handed it off to Guerschon Yabusele for the game-securing assist.
“Just stay down and stick to our principles,” Williams said after being asked to walk reporters through that last play. “Coach told us to switch everything, stay on your feet and be the second man to leave the floor. That’s what I tried to do.”
After his inauspicious introduction, I set the bar fairly low for Robert Williams. But damn, the kid looks decent on the court.
We’ve seen our fair share of rookie big men and not many compare to his athleticism.
He’s going to spend a lot of time in Maine but just maybe he’ll make some small contributions this season.
The rest of the links
Herald – Lots of 3 pointers on Celtics menu