Gordon Hayward had a handful of impressive plays during the Boston Celtics' win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. But his most important play of the day might have been one that did not count.
Hayward raised a crowd for a two-handed dunk in the third quarter (video below). The officials whistled a foul on Celtics big man Aaron Baynes, but Hayward trotted away with a smile. After that, he was taking the ball in isolation and driving to the net with purpose, even draining a bucket on Myles Turner in the fourth quarter . (It was a bit of a revenge as Turner posterized Hayward earlier in the game.) That bucket probably helped create space on the perimeter, where he knocked down a 3-point dagger with three minutes left in the game.
With Hayward's help, Boston went on to sweep the Indiana in their playoff series.
After shooting 7 of 9 from the field and 3 of 3 from three while scoring 20 points, Hayward discussed the game and the series in a postgame interview. is the court on ABC.
"It was a scrappy series, a defensive series, a physical series," Hayward said. "I feel good. Anytime you 4-0 a team, you feel good. "
Hayward's physicality throughout the game, especially on his dunk, provided reason for optimism in Boston.
Fans on Twitter seem to believe the star, who is making his way back from a gruesome ankle injury last year, is on his way back to big things.