For all the little things he used to do well, one thing that was maddening about Al Horford’s game was on the nights he needed to think “score-first,” he usually wouldn’t. Gordon Hayward may have dropped 25 on the Sixers and was the Celtics’ highest scorer in the loss, but his performance felt eerily similar to some of Horford’s in years past.
Of his 25 points, 10 came in the fourth quarter, in which he went 2-for-4 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the line. Hayward was huge down the stretch, no question.
But where was that aggressiveness at the rim the whole game? Yes, things started clicking for him more in the third quarter. He went 4-for-5 from the floor and 2-for-3 from the line in the third for another 10 points. And it was Hayward’s switch to “score-first” mode that made the difference. When Hayward didn’t hesitate, the Sixers could not stop him.
If you want to use the “it’s just the first game” excuse, consider this: in the first game of the year, isn’t long-range shooting be something that might not be exactly where it needs to be? Well, when Kemba Walker is going 1-for-6 from deep, shouldn’t some of those attempts instead go to someone who’s going to attack the rim instead?
Walker had an off night. He had no problem creating space to get good looks, he just couldn’t knock them down. That won’t happen often.
Jayson Tatum was good from three, but he had seven misses in the paint. Again, that won’t happen often.
But when those two have off nights — and Jaylen Brown can’t help either — Hayward has to know when to step forward. He was too late with that on Wednesday.
Full article @ Gordon Hayward needed to take charge against Sixers sooner
Source: GreenStreet Blog