Gordon Hayward is back in the TD Garden for the first time and getting the adulation of the fans as the Boston Celtics take on the Golden State Warriors.
The Boston Celtics are taking on the Golden State Warriors in what is an early-season matchup of the two best teams in the NBA. And, dare we say, a potential NBA Finals preview.
It is too early for that. But there does seem an added intensity to this game at the TD Garden. The TNT cameras help a bit. Plus the fact the Celtics are on a 12-game win streak and the Warriors have won seven straight.
The Warriors and Celtics traded some good-natured barbs. Steve Kerr said the Celtics could run the Eastern Conference for several years.
Of course, Boston is short-handed. Thanks to that opening night injury to Gordon Hayward, tonight’s matchup lacks a little bit of its luster. Hayward is likely out for the year after a compound fracture in his leg suffered in that first game.
Outside of a few videos showing him shooting from a chair, there has been little sight of Gordon Hayward.
But for a big game, the big guns have to show up. And Hayward is back in the TD Garden now for Thursday’s game.
By all reports, when the TD Garden jumbotron showed the injured All-Star, the crowd gave him a very warm reception.
This was Hayward’s first appearance at the TD Garden since his injury. Making the game that much more special for the Celtics and their fans.
Somehow the Celtics have gotten off to a hot start despite losing Hayward and his ball-handling and scoring abilities. Hayward was an All-Star last year with the Utah Jazz, averaging 21.9 points per game. The Celtics put the full-court blitz on him in free agency to get him. It seemed to set up the team well for the future and for the present.
All this before the Celtics acquired Kyrie Irving. Boston never had a chance to get their new core together and let them grow. Hayward was gone just five minutes into the season.
But Boston has forged ahead. Brad Stevens’ wizardry and the Celtics’ depth have enabled them to survive the injury and thrive. They have built one of the best defenses in the league.
It seems like the team will be happy to welcome Hayward back to the team next year.
For now, the fans and the team are just happy to see Hayward back on the bench and giving his support that way.