Boston Celtics: 3 Reasons the Team is Finally Hitting Their Stride

Boston Celtics (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Gordon Hayward is starting to look like himself again

After three stellar performances to start the new year, it looks as if Gordon Hayward decided to leave his ‘damaged goods’ label in 2018. Nothing is definitive, and Hayward could certainly regress, but right now the guy is riding high and finally playing consistent basketball.

In the month of January, Gordon is averaging a team-high 21 points per contest to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He’s shooting a ridiculous 44 percent from downtown, and 87 percent from the free-throw line.

It’s taken nearly half of a season, but GH is becoming the lethal offensive weapon he is capable of. All it’s taken is a whole lot of aggression and a little bit of selfishness.

Hayward didn’t take 10 shots per contest in a single month to start the season. In January his totals are up to 14.3 attempts in 29 minutes per game.

What’s changed?

He is finally looking for his shot  and making the most of his opportunities on the court. Take this highlight clip, for example.

I can sum up the difference for you, but I think Kyrie Irving said it best.

"“He’s just playing free, he’s playing free,” Irving said. “You want him keeping the same energy, the same motivation, the same intensity. That’s who he is. We just need him to be aggressive on both ends of the floor, offensively manage our offense and create opportunities for himself first and, as he does, that the defenses will kind of collapse on these drives as he’s done so far. We’ve seen him come into the lane and throw lobs and throw great passes but now we he’s scoring he becomes that much bigger of a threat."

Gordon is playing free because the ankle is finally getting back near 100 percent. As time rolls on the fear of re-injury begins to fade, confidence builds.

Hayward is attacking the basket with this newfound confidence, and the results speak for itself. The old Gordon would be found sitting in the corner watching as the play develops, completely left out. Now, we see a demand for the ball.

At his best, Hayward can carry the load for this team offensively, particularly in lineups without Kyrie Irving. With Irving sidelined to start the new year, this is exactly what Hayward has done.

The continued development of Gordon Hayward will be significant for the Celtics as the group enters the second half of the season. The better he gets, the better this team will get. And thus far, things are looking up for GH and the C’s.