The Celtics are getting their X-factor back — Gordon Hayward is available for the must-win Game 3 for Boston.
This had been expected, but he was out warming up pregame as reports he would be available started to bounce around the web.
Gordon Hayward is warming up on the court ahead of Game 3.
According to reports, Hayward is AVAILABLE to play tonight off the bench after missing the last month with an ankle injury. pic.twitter.com/d9YCyGIamX
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 19, 2020
Brad Stevens says Gordon Hayward will come off the bench and will be on "minutes monitoring." Stevens said it will be up to Hayward if he can go, but said that he expects him to play tonight in Game 3, as @wojespn reported earlier.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) September 19, 2020
Even 20 minutes of Hayward would be a big boost for the Celtics. Hayward suffered a grade III ankle sprain in the first game of the playoffs against Philadelphia. He’s been out ever since, even leaving the bubble for a while to get treatment.
Hayward’s return gives the Celtics another versatile player who can create his own shot and knock down the open looks others create for him. Hayward can run pick-and-rolls with the second unit while Tatum and Walker get rest. He’s the Celtics’ fourth-best scoring option right now, but he’s more dangerous than any other team’s fourth scorer.
Miami leads the series 0-2. If Boston doesn’t find a way to break down Miami’s zone defense and defend the rim better themselves this series is going to be short. Maybe Hayward can help with that on Saturday night.