Stick for the Celtics: Gordon Hayward breaks a hand

Bitter display for Stevens in San Antonio. At his best since his serious injury in 2017, Hayward is once again out of the team.

After seven seasons in the Jazz, Gordon Hayward (all star in 2017, the last of them) signed for the Celtics. Four years of maximum contract (about 127 million) in the assembly of a very ambitious project by Danny Ainge that is now in full patch. Partly because of the bad luck that Hayward himself is having, who turns 30 in March and only played six minutes of his first season in Boston. A very serious injury took him away that course and he had it looking for himself the past among rumors, in a team that took a zero in chemistry, that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown did very little grace Brad Stevens interest in recovering every coast (with the management of minutes, it is understood) to the eave.

In this new season, that of the collective repair of the locker room after Kyrie Irving's departure and Kemba Walker's arrival, Hayward was demonstrating that the injury was already far behind: 20.3 points (third of the team), 7, 9 rebounds (first) and 4.6 assists (second) for a player who, in his best version, scores, directs and gives cohesion to the game with his facility to link the outside game (where the Celtics go short of rotation) and the inside. In an excellent moment for him and his team, who was passing the roller through San Antonio (50-64 90 seconds after the break), Hayward crashed into a block that he did not see from LaMarcus Aldridge and fractured his left hand. An injury that supposes a tremendous blow for him and for a team that ended up winning (115-135), first victory in Spurs track since 2011, and that adds seven victories in a row and leads the East after losing his first match. Exactly the same path as the Lakers, their old and eternal rival, in the West. But in full (and justified) euphoria attack, the Celtics have fallen this injury like a jug of cold water.

Hayward will consult a specialist tomorrow to see if he has to go through the operating room and if his injury is measured in months ... and how many. A blow for some Celtics who (39 points in the first quarter and 72 in the second) were leaving an excellent feeling, with their silky circulation, in a game that Gregg Popovich had already got fed up very soon: soon after he switched to all his quintet and then talk about the lack of "aggressiveness" and "zero physical level" of his team, which after starting 3-0 is already 5-4.

Tatum (19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), Brown (20 + 7 + 3) and Kemba Walker (26 + 5 + 8) led the charge, well accompanied by a Marcus Smart that will have even more prominence from now on and a Robert Williams who (11 points, 7 rebounds and 6 blocks) was the anchor in areas where the Celtics still believe it can be converted reliably. But the night, which pointed to triumphant, ended up crooked by Hayward's injury, a blow that is not comparable to the first game of the 2017-18 season, in Cleveland, but that catches off guard and an ear smile to hear a team take off and a player again at their best level. The good thing, that the season is long and that Hayward should return with plenty of room to catch up to playoffs that, in the West, the Spurs will have to work hard, like last year. There is nothing left over, although tomorrow more is expected of them in what will be, before the Grizzlies, the night of Tony Parker's shirt withdrawal.

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