Celtics

Hayward 'attacking the process' but still no timetable for return

Hayward 'attacking the process' but still no timetable for return

BOSTON — Gordon Hayward took yet another step forward in his recovery from a dislocated left ankle injury.

He has now been given the green light to not have to wear a walking boot.

"I feel alright I guess, as well as I could," Hayward told reporters earlier today. "I'm out of the boot right now so that's good, slowly getting better.

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Hayward added, "for now I'm done with the boot. Depending on how things go, I could be back in the boot so we'll see."

While all agree it is progress, there is still no timetable for when - if at all - he will return this season.

Hayward suffered the injury in the season-opener at Cleveland when he landed awkwardly attempting to catch a lob pass in the first quarter.

“He’s had good days, some not so good days,” his agent Mark Bartelstein told NBC Sports Boston. “But he’s attacking the process, focusing on getting better from one day to the next.”

Bartelstein understands every step Hayward takes in his recovery, will be seen by some as a step toward his return to action this season.

Bartelstein reiterated there has been no talk of Hayward returning this season.

“We’re not going to put a limit or cap on Gordon’s progress,” Bartelstein said. “But at the same time, we’re not gonna put a number or date for him to come back, either. Like I said, he’s attacking the process of getting healthier, trying to get better from one day to the next.”

The Celtics have been cautiously optimistic about Hayward’s progress, consistently stating that they have no plans for him to join the team this season.

As much progress as Hayward appears to be making, it’s still unlikely he will heal in time to play this season.

Boston received a disabled players exception for Hayward’s injury that is worth $8.4 million which is the largest DPE in NBA history. They have until March 10, 2018 to use it.

One of the factors contributing to them getting it was a set of independent doctors who determined that it was unlikely Hayward would return to playing by June 15, 2018.

That means for Hayward to be ready in time for the playoffs, he would have to be at least two months ahead of schedule.

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Inconsistency leads Celtics to another disappointing loss

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Inconsistency leads Celtics to another disappointing loss

LOS ANGELES – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 108-107 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers which extended their losing streak to four in a row.

STARS

Kyle Kuzma: He’s not an all-star, but he delivered an all-star worthy performance on Tuesday. He led the Lakers with 28 points off the bench while shooting 10-for-16 from the field.

Kyrie Irving: This was yet another game in which Irving played at an elite level only to come up short. He led all scorers with 33 points 13-for-24 shooting.

STUDS

Marcus Smart: While he may have come up short in missing the potential game-winner, Smart made a lot of winning plays at both ends of the floor. He would finish with 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting with eight assists and just one turnover.

Jordan Clarkson: One of the NBA’s better scorers off the bench, Clarkson tallied 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting to go with five rebounds and two steals while logging a team-high 34 minutes.

Julius Randle: His ability to control the action and impact the game around the rim, was huge. He had a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds while shooting 6-for-12 from the field.

Marcus Morris: His role as a primary scorer off the bench seems to be one well-suited for him. Morris finished with 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting along with seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

DUDS

Jayson Tatum: Just a bad night on so many fronts for Tatum. He had four points on 1-for-6 shooting with his lone made basket a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Celtics rebounding:  Boston has had its share of rebounding struggles in the past, so it wasn’t all that surprising how they lost the battle of the glass. But the Lakers didn’t just beat them; they absolutely dominated them in a much more decisive manner than the final rebounding numbers – 51 for the Lakers, 42 for the Celtics – might indicate. The Lakers were especially effective on the offensive boards with 14 that led to 23, second-chance points.

Aron Baynes: The fact that he didn’t score wasn’t the problem. His struggles had more to do with his defense which wasn’t nearly as good as we’re accustomed to seeing. A big part of that had to do with foul trouble.

Free throw shooting: Boston hasn’t had a friendly whistle in quite a while, but Tuesday was one of the more glaringly obvious games in which the Celtics’ lack of free throw attempts was a major factor in the game’s outcome. Put it like this: The Lakers had more free throws by halftime (13) than the Celtics had for the entire game (10). The Lakers would finish 21-for-36 from the line while Boston was 8-for-10.

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Celtics fall short again, lose to Lakers 108-107

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Celtics fall short again, lose to Lakers 108-107

LOS ANGELES – The Boston Celtics failed to rebound, literally and figuratively, on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, resulting in a 108-107 loss that extended their season-long losing streak to four in a row.

Marcus Smart’s potential game-winning shot hit the back of the rim as time expired.

Boston (34-14) got another monster game from Kyrie Irving who led all scorers with 33 points. Smart had 22 points, only the second time this season he has had 20 or more points in a game.

But this game was decided by the Lakers’ dominance on the glass, as they out-rebounded Boston 51-42 which included a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass which led to 23 second-chance points for the Lakers (18-29).

However, the Celtics did make things interesting.

A 3-pointer by Terry Rozier made it a 106-103 game wit 23.8 seconds to play.

Josh Hart was fouled by Al Horford, but missed both free throws.

Julius Randle grabbed the miss, but fouled Marcus Smart who went to the free throw line and made a pair that cut the Lakers lead to 106-105 with less than 20 seconds to play.

Boston tried to steal the ball, but wound up fouling Jordan Clarkson who made a pair of free throws with 11.6 seconds to push the Lakers lead to 108-105.

After a Celtics time-out, Terry Rozier scored on a driving lay-up with 7.3 seconds to play.

The Lakers’ Kentavious Pope-Caldwell missed a pair of free throws in the closing seconds as well, which set up Boston’s potential game-winner by Smart.

Despite the Lakers giving Boston one opportunity after another to win the game, the Celtics consistently fell short in a game that was there for the taking.

Following a Celtics time-out with 6:40 to play, Boston seemed on its was re-establishing control when Marcus Smart stole the ball and had a 2-on-1 break with Jaylen Brown and the Celtics ahead 91-90.

Rather than driving in for the lay-up, Smart threw a lob pass to Brown for a dunk that Brown missed.

That was just what the Lakers needed, as they scored on the ensuing possession which was the beginning of 9-2 Lakers run that proved to be a surge that Boston could not overcome.

The close finish was indicative of how the game began with neither team showing any signs in the first quarter of taking control.  

The Celtics began to put some separation between themselves and the Lakers in the second quarter.

Trailing 33-32, Boston went on a 7-0 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Irving.

The Celtics would eventually pull ahead by 14 points before settling in for a comfortable 53-45 halftime lead.

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