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Hayward nearly prices Celts, then hits GW shot


2:54 AM ET

Tim BontempsESPN

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When Gordon Hayward fouled Buddy Hield on a Three-pointer with 7.6 seconds remaining in Wednesday evening’s recreation between the Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings, he was afraid he’d value his group the sport.

He then made positive that he hadn’t.

After Hield made all three free throws to tie the rating, Hayward took the inbounds move, drove the size of the courtroom and hit a troublesome fallaway jumper over Hield’s outstretched arm with 2 seconds remaining to elevate the Celtics to a 111-109 victory over the Kings at Golden 1 Middle.

“I simply needed to get it up the size of the courtroom,” Hayward mentioned. “I used to be in a position to end the play off, however actually simply making a play.”

He definitely did that, as his twisting, fadeaway bucket put a dagger within the Kings (32-32), who’re making an attempt to make the playoffs for the primary time since 2006. The loss dropped Sacramento 4 full video games behind the LA Clippers and San Antonio Spurs for the ultimate playoff spot.

The Kings have misplaced six of their previous eight video games, together with three losses by two factors (to Boston, the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets) and one in time beyond regulation (to the Milwaukee Bucks).

“I am uninterested in that s—,” mentioned Hield, who scored 23 factors. “It is life within the NBA, man. It is exhausting to win basketball video games — particularly towards good groups.”

Boston (40-26) hasn’t all the time regarded like a superb group this season, however Wednesday’s win got here on the heels of an emphatic 33-point victory over the Warriors on Tuesday — which may very well be an indication that higher days lie forward for the Celtics.

Each Hayward and Celtics coach Brad Stevens mentioned after Tuesday’s win that it will require one other nice effort to beat Sacramento. Sacramento shot 50 % from the sphere and 13-for-29 (44.eight %) from Three-point vary to remain within the recreation and saved the sport shut all through the fourth quarter till Hield’s free throws tied issues up with 7.6 seconds left.

Boston did not have a timeout left, and with Kyrie Irving sitting out with a left thigh contusion, Hayward was the one to take the inbounds move, carry the ball up the courtroom and — when the remainder of Sacramento’s defenders stayed residence — went at Hield for what wound up being the game-winning shot.

“You take a look at the movie and also you all the time … once you watch one thing, you all the time say, ‘I ought to have executed this, I ought to have executed that.’ He made a fallaway fadeaway,” Hield mentioned. “There’s nothing a lot you are able to do about that. I contested it. It isn’t like I did not contest it. You say strain him, however generally you do not wish to strain guys manner up as a result of they’ve the lane to go drive full courtroom. I do not care who you might be, you may’t guard no person full courtroom. I do not care what fan thinks they’ll come out right here and guard someone full courtroom. They cannot.

“You may decide and select your poison. I attempted to make it as powerful as attainable. I might’ve been extra aggressive, however he made a troublesome fadeaway soar shot. Nice shot, and hats off to him. It is an excellent story for him, the way in which he is battled [back] from damage, and so you need to tip your hat to that. Typically that is how it may work.”

After scoring 30 factors in Tuesday’s demolition of Golden State, Hayward completed with 12 factors and 5 assists Wednesday evening. Hayward’s 6-for-10 taking pictures efficiency towards Sacramento meant that Boston is now 19-2 this season when he hits a minimum of 50 % of his photographs and 17-22 when he doesn’t.

“I believe it builds a bit little bit of confidence, attempt to maintain the nice video games going, be extra constant,” Hayward mentioned. “I felt like tonight wasn’t my greatest evening shooting-wise, however I attempt to do another issues. They have been a troublesome group, and I believe the truth that they push the ball so quick up the courtroom was even tougher on us coming from a back-to-back, so I am happy with us that we gutted it out.”

One one who is not going to be talking any extra about Hayward’s confidence stage is Stevens. When he was requested about it early in his postgame information convention, Stevens mentioned it will be the ultimate time he’d handle the subject after doing so repeatedly over the previous a number of months any time Hayward both performed very effectively or very poorly.

“I imply, he ought to have loads of confidence,” Stevens mentioned. “He is a heck of a participant, and all of us consider in him. So I am going to most likely cease speaking about working his manner again and simply name him Gordon and attempt to assist transfer ahead right here, as a result of he is clearly performed nice these two nights, and these are two actually good wins, actually exhausting wins.”


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