Gordon Hayward injury provides opportunity for teammates to step up

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have defeated the Boston Celtics 102-99 in their first game of the season to the surprise of not too many but diving into this game does provide a few surprises.

  1. Gordan Hayward goes out in the 1st quarter after suffering gruesome fractured ankle on an awkward alley-oop. The whole place stands still for a second really letting you know at home how fucked he is. You can check out the clip below but be warned, its not very pretty. He’ll be done for a while and it really accelerates the need for his teammates to step up.

2.  With Hayward down for the count, for now, the Celtics are gonna need their entire roster to step up. Tonight Jaylen Brown stepped up and led the Celtics in scoring with 25 edging out Irving at 22. Coupled with his 6 rebounds and steals it’s easy to be optimistic about his performance. Giving up 3 turnovers is the downside to his stat line but its game one and they are playing the Cavs. Ill take him like that any day. Give him some time to develop over the season and fine tune his 3 and he will be unstoppable.

3.  With the elders of the team doing their part it also falls on the rookie to grow up a little quicker than he probably expected to. Jayson Tatum has to take some of the weight of the Hayward injury and do his part. He stepped up on the boards tonight with 10 rebounds and paired it with 14 points. Im sure he will continue to progress as the long season goes on and find his role wherever that might be. Along with Marcus Smart’s 9 rebounds, they accounted for 19/46 total boards. Marcus Smart actually managed to spark up in the 3rd quarter up but up a majority of his 12 points. In the end I think Tatum understands his role to his team and that he has to be able to be relied on by experienced players to step up when they get him the ball.

All in all, the Celtics showcased exceptionally well especially when you take into consideration that one of their two major offseason pickups goes out on a stretcher in the 1st quarter. They hung in with the Cavaliers and managed to go up on them with a few runs. Depending on when Hayward comes back could be a big determinate of where their season ends up but for the time being it is up to everyone on the court to spread the work and pick up the slack of losing Hayward.

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