Celtics

Celtics-76ers takeaways: C's show they'll be OK without Hayward

Celtics
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The Boston Celtics started off slow in Game 2, but they ended up dominating the Philadelphia 76ers en route to a 27-point victory on Wednesday night.

Jayson Tatum was sensational once again, leading the C's with 33 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists. Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown contributed 22 and 20 points respectively, and the bench (41 total points) got its fair share of minutes late in the game with Boston out to a comfortable lead.

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Here are three takeaways from Game 2 as the C's take a 2-0 series lead.

1. Jayson Tatum is made for the moment. After putting up 32 points in Game 1, Tatum delivered with a phenomenal encore performance in Game 2. It was further proof the 22-year-old has already made the leap to superstardom.

One of the main storylines heading into this first-round series was whether Tatum will be capable of carrying his team through the playoffs. He's bound to have an off game or two eventually, but Wednesday night's performance leaves little doubt about whether he'll be able to rise to the occasion.

I mean, just watch this ridiculous shot from the first quarter:

That, along with so many other plays from these first two playoff games, prove Tatum is a man on a mission.

2. Don't give Enes Kanter's minutes to Robert Williams just yet.

After a sluggish start for the C's, the bench stepped up to give them the spark they so desperately needed. This time it was Enes Kanter, not Robert Williams, who stole the show following a torrid stretch for Timelord that caused some to wonder whether he should steal some of Kanter's minutes.

 

Kanter's Game 2 performance showed those takes from the seeding round were a bit premature. Not exactly known for his defense, Kanter did a great job in limiting Sixers star Joel Embiid while contributing 10 points and nine rebounds.

Things could change, but for now, Kanter has proven he deserves meaningful minutes throughout the playoffs.

3. The Celtics will be just fine without Gordon Hayward. This isn't to say the C's are a better team with Hayward out. That would be a preposterous take.

But what Boston showed in Game 2 is extremely reassuring. The news that Hayward would be sidelined for four weeks with a Grade 3 right ankle sprain put a damper on the C's Game 1 win, but cruising to a 27-point victory without the former All-Star in Game 2 showed they can easily get through this series and potentially the next one without him.

Although it'll undoubtedly get more difficult if/when Boston has to face off against Milwaukee, Toronto, or Miami, Hayward's absence shouldn't be what costs the Celtics a chance at a title.

Blakely: C's second-unit a first-rate problem for Sixers