Boston Celtics need a good Gordon Hayward to avoid elimination

Boston Celtics Marcus Morris (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics Marcus Morris (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics are just a game away from elimination in the 2018-19 NBA playoffs and the good version of Gordon Hayward may keep their season alive.

While Kyrie Irving is taking the blunt of the blame for the Boston Celtics 3-1 deficit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks, some attention should be placed on the shoulders of Gordon Hayward.

Going into Wednesday’s Game 5 of the second-round series, the Celtics will be 9-point underdogs and a very desperate basketball team.  With the talent they have, they do have a chance to extend the series if they play together, play aggressively and don’t just wave the white flag.

If Irving shows up with a killer instinct and is playing the way he did in Game 1 of the series, the Celtics will at least be in the game provided they survive another third quarter swoon.  But, besides from playing smart basketball and team defense, they really need the playmaker in Gordon Hayward to show up.

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Following a solid Game 1, Hayward has basically disappeared the last three games of the series.  He scored just 5 points in Game 2 and 2 points in Game 4 and a reason by the Boston Celtics bench has been outplayed by the Milwaukee Bucks bench in those games.

He has to be better in Game 5 and he has shown he can be towards the end of the regular season and through the first five games of the playoffs.  Yes, his season-ending injury a year ago is still limiting the All-Star version of Gordon Hayward, but he is still capable of big games, which he has proved.

Simply put, Hayward needs to find his aggressive side, take shots and employs the basketball IQ Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens continues to praise.

Despite a minus-49 while he is on the floor over the last three games, Stevens still believes Gordon Hayward is an asset on the floor due to his basketball intelligence.

"“I thought Gordon, like a lot of our guys, made a lot of the right plays there in the first half or in the first 30 minutes of [Game 4], driving, kicking and making the right plays,” Stevens said, as transcribed by Yahoo! Sports.  “he just hasn’t seen the ball go in as much, but he hasn’t had a lot of opportunity either.  I think there’s a combination of things that need to happen, but I need to do a better job of getting us organized with both [starting and reserve] groups but especially that second group.”"

An effective and aggressive Gordon Hayward will certainly help with the team’s third quarter woes.  If he is scoring, knocking down shots and getting his teammates involved, the Boston Celtics should not only be able to survive that particular quarter, but have a great shot at bringing this series back to Boston.

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The key for Hayward and the rest of the team, however, is if the shots are not falling, they have to keep their heads in the game and lock down defensively.  If that is not good enough, at least go down fighting by playing the Boston Celtics basketball fans love versus the team that doesn’t seem to want to be on the court with one another at times.