Celtics

Celtics

The Boston Celtics earned a hard-fought road win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, 109-101.

The victory gives the Celtics a 2-0 advantage over the Heat in the season and makes them only a half-game behind Miami in the tightly-contested Eastern Conference standings.

Here are three instant overreactions from the C's win, which brings them to 31-15 on the season:

1. Gordon Hayward has returned to All-Star form.

Verdict: Slight overreaction

Hayward has now scored 20-plus points in three consecutive games for the first time in his Celtics career, leading all scorers in this game with 29. With the team continuing to deal with a myriad of injuries, Hayward has stepped up in a major way both offensively and defensively.

As for declaring him back to being the player who was voted into the All-Star Game in the 2016-17 season, that's a stretch.

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We need to see Hayward take the reins when the team is at full strength. The 29-year-old sometimes can be too passive when Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum all are on the court. While Hayward has proven valuable in those instances with his passing ability, we need to see him take over games more consistently before we say he's all the way back.

Considering how he's performed over the last week or so, there's no reason to believe he can't accomplish that.

2. Maybe the C's bench isn't so bad after all.

Verdict: Overreaction

The Celtics' bench, once again, was abysmal Tuesday night... and then it turned itself around in the second half.

Brad Wanamaker drilled a couple of timely 3-pointers, rookie Grant Williams was a beast on the defensive end with seven rebounds, a steal, and a block, and Semi Ojeleye went 3-for-4 from the field for seven points.

Even so, bench production remains a real issue for the C's going forward. We've noted this on multiple occasions throughout the season, including after Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. They entered Tuesday's game 28th in the league in bench scoring.

In related news, rookie Romeo Langford didn't see the court despite being recalled from Maine earlier in the day. It'd be nice to see the No. 14 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft get more run.

3. Jaylen Brown deserves All-Star nod over Jayson Tatum.

Verdict: Slight overreaction

With Jayson Tatum out again due to a groin injury, Brown co-starred in the Celtics' win alongside Hayward with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting.

Brown has been great on both sides of the ball this season, but the slight edge probably still belongs to Tatum. Although Brown's defense has been underrated, Tatum has been the C's best defensive player all year. Offensively, it's pretty much been a wash.

Walker, Brown, and Tatum each are deserving of the honor, but it'll be tough in a loaded East. Celtics fans will hope to see all three in Chicago for the All-Star Game, especially since rookie Grant Williams promised to dye his hair pink if that happens.

Reserves will be announced Thursday. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Warriors-Celtics, which begins Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.