Gordon Hayward expects ‘intense’ season opener vs. Cavaliers

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 11: Gordon Hayward
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 11: Gordon Hayward /

Set to make his Boston Celtics regular season debut, Gordon Hayward is excited to get things started against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There will be no Isaiah Thomas and perhaps no LeBron James, but Tuesday night’s season opener between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers is still going to be intense baby!

Just ask Gordon Hayward.

Not only is the new Celtics All-Star swingman set to make his debut in the green and white at Quicken Loans Arena, he will get his introduction into an Eastern Conference rivalry that has elevated over the offseason, primarily due to the blockbuster involving teammate Kyrie Irving.

"“It’s gonna be an intense game,” Hayward told Bleacher Report.  “It’s gonna be chippy.  I’m sure.  We want to come out and play our best basketball, but at the same time, not put too much weight on just one game.  It’s the first game of the year.  We’re gonna be trying to figure out who we are as a team.”"

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 2: Gordon Hayward
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 2: Gordon Hayward /

Hayward and this new version of the Boston Celtics are out to show the defending Eastern Conference champions that they are no push over.  They certainly want to prove they are much better than the team that went down 4-1 in an Eastern Conference Finals series that was very lopsided.

Bright light, big stage

The Celtics prize acquisition in NBA free agency this offseason will immediately get his introduction on the big state Tuesday night.

Related Story: Gordon Hayward embracing the spotlight and ready to shine

Rising to stardom in a small market like Salt Lake City, the former Utah Jazz star will no longer go unknown.  In fact, in the city of Boston he will be very much in the spotlight despite Kyrie Irving taking some of the glimmer off his shine.

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Still, Gordon Hayward will be out to take his game to a higher level.  His familiarity with Celtics head coach Brad Stevens will certainly help, but Hayward says expanding his offensive game to the low post is something he’s been working on.

"“That’s something I have been working on,” Hayward told the Vertical.  “It’s something I can get better at.  My size, taking advantage of when guys switch.  Or just being a playmaker out of the post.  In a lot of situations, guys have to help or over-help, and you can just pick apart a defense.”"

Hayward showed off some of those skills in the preseason.  The team went 4-0 and showcased an explosive style of offense.  With both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward able to create their own shots with ease, the 2017-18 version of the Boston Celtics will have no problem scoring.

At least, that’s what they showed in the preseason against the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Hornets.

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Let’s see what happens against a team like the Cavs.  It will be intense and the Celtics new stars are ready for the challenge.