Celtics vs. Magic Overreactions: Gordon Hayward is back to All-Star form


It wasn't the prettiest performance, but the Boston Celtics got the job done vs. the Orlando Magic on Sunday evening.

The C's earned their third straight victory thanks to huge performances from Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum. Jaylen Brown had himself a night as well contributing 19 points, 12 rebounds, and two steals.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Here are three instant overreactions to Boston's win, which brings its record to 47-23 (4-2 in the Orlando bubble).

1. Gordon Hayward is back to All-Star form.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Outside of Friday night's game against the Raptors, Gordon Hayward has sneakily been playing really well for the Celtics in the Orlando bubble. His performance Sunday was his best one yet.

Hayward, sporting an awesome mustache, dropped a game-high 31 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists. If the 30-year-old can put together more outings like that in the playoffs, Eastern Conference foes are going to have their work cut out for them.

It's no longer a question of when Hayward will finally return to his All-Star-caliber form. That time has already come.

2. Kemba Walker's off night is a concern.

Verdict: Overreaction

Walker's minutes were increased to 32 for this one, but you would never know it looking at his stat line. He had only one bucket on the night (1-for-9) for four points and was virtually invisible when he was on the floor.

Surely, Walker's rough showing will prompt questions like, "is his knee still bothering him?" and "can he contribute 30+ quality minutes in the playoffs?" While both are valid questions, let's not get carried away after one poor outing. For the most part, Walker has looked like himself in the Orlando bubble and there's no reason to worry until the struggles become a common occurrence.

The Celtics All-Star will be just fine.

2. All that "Jayson Tatum is too inconsistent" talk was an...

Verdict: Overreaction

It wasn't that Tatum was playing poorly since the Celtics began play in the Orlando bubble, he just wasn't consistently at the level we witnessed him playing at before the NBA season was put on hold in mid-March,

That narrative continued through the first half of Sunday's game, and then Tatum quieted his critics by leading his team to victory. The 22-year-old superstar nailed a clutch shot at the end of the fourth quarter to force overtime and finished with 29 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.

There will be more games down the stretch where Tatum can't do it all and guys like Jaylen Brown (the C's best player in the bubble so far), Gordon Hayward, and Kemba Walker will need to step up. That's OK. Because when it matters most, Boston is in good hands with Tatum leading the charge.