Indiana native Gordon Hayward played key role in Celtics’ first-round sweep of Pacers
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Gordon Hayward added to his long list of successes inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, leading the Boston Celtics with 20 points in a 110-106 win over the Indiana Pacers, Sunday afternoon.
The result moves the Celtics into the second round of the playoffs with a 4-0 sweep.
“It felt really good out there,” said Hayward, the former standout with the Butler Bulldogs and even before that at Brownsburg High School. “I thought tonight was a total team effort. At different points in the game, different guys stepped up, and to do it in front of friends and family was a lot of fun.”
Hayward is competing in his first postseason with the Celtics after signing with them two summers ago. He missed last year’s playoffs after suffering a severe leg injury in his first regular season game with the team.
“It’s been a long process to get back to where he probably feels as good as he does now,” explained Boston head coach Brad Stevens, who also coached Hayward at Butler. “He was big at the end of the game tonight for sure.”
“I think I feel way better now than I did at the beginning of the season,” added Hayward. “For sure physically it’s been a slow progression and (I’m) still continuing to do ankle exercises and continue to strengthen that ankle, but I think more than anything, (it’s) having the experience, getting the reps, (and) getting the confidence back.”
Hayward and the Celtics will confidently enter round two of the postseason against the winner of the Milwaukee/Detroit series. The 1-seed Bucks lead the Pistons 3-0. Game 4 of the series is scheduled for Monday night at 8:00 p.m.