Gordon's performance last evening agains the Cavs was nothing short of amazing. Anyone giving him a high five would be at risk of 3rd degree burns his hands were so hot! At the request of Hayward himself in his post game interview, "If only the (media) would stop asking me...," I will not talk about his return after injury because I feel it does him a huge disservice. Gordon is playing ball like he always has, and he's only going up from here.
39 points for Gordon is definitely something to celebrate. He saw his shots, took them and made them 85% of the night. In addition to his incredible shooting from the field, Hayward was 100% at the line. I think his precision as a free-throw shooter got lost in the shuffle last year. He's always been confident and consistent when making that extra shot. Points aside, I love that he's becoming more aggressive and pushing through the paint. Whether the bucket falls or not, the more he drives, the more impact he's going to make.
Gordon wasn't the only putting points on the board, he was also making sure his teammates were in on the fun as well. Gordon isn't given enough credit for his basketball IQ. He knows where to be, what play to make and how to find the open man, which was made evident with the eight assists he had. It's very tempting to watch guys like Kemba and Jayson, but I am often drawn to #20 and what he's doing while on the court. Whether it's setting a screen or making a bounce pass, Gordon is going to get the others involved, move the ball and get the job done.
If there was ever a weakness in the Celtics organization, it's here. We are not known as a team that rebounds. Hayward is working towards changing that identity. He grabbed seven of the 49 rebounds in last night's game against Cleveland. As anyone knows, in the game of basketball, the more rebounds you get, the more second chance shots you get or take away from your opponent. I'd love to see this number increase for Gordon, and with the fight I see coming alive in him, I believe it will.
I started this season out worried that Gordon Hayward wouldn't be wearing the green and white after this season. With increased productivity and positive impacts over the first six games, I am happy to say my fear is waning. The hands of #20 are getting hotter and hotter. I wouldn't be surprised to see an All-Star invitation heading his way if he keeps balling like this. He has the confidence of his coach. In his post game interview, Brad Stevens praised him and how he made the right plays.
Celtics fans, it's time we get excited again that Gordon Hayward is on our side. Let's continue to give him our love and support and watch amazing things happen!
Featured Image via Clutchpoints.com