Celtics

Gordon Hayward leaves Celtics game after taking shot to the head

Gordon Hayward leaves Celtics game after taking shot to the head

BOSTON — Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a strained neck running into a hard screen in the first quarter of the victory Saturday over the Atlanta Hawks and was sent home at halftime.

Hayward staggered backward after his head hit hard on the shoulder of Atlanta big man John Collins, who was setting a screen for teammate Trae Young. Hayward initially tried to stay on the court but coach Brad Stevens subbed him out with 3:50 to play in the frame.

Hayward was ruled out later in the first half and Stevens was uncertain about his status moving forward.

“Sent him home after halftime,” said Stevens. “I talked with him at halftime, obviously pretty woozy from that hit. So I don’t have any update on him. But you could see right away that it was quite a hit.”

The Celtics have Sunday off before hosting the Denver Nuggets on Monday night at TD Garden.

Hayward had been playing some of his most consistent basketball of the season lately, pairing with Jaylen Brown to give the Celtics’ second unit a much-needed jolt.

The Celtics’ reserves fumbled away a 25-point lead Saturday before the starters helped preserve a 129-120 victory over the Hawks.

It seems like each time Hayward has built some momentum lately, an injury has set him back a bit. He entered the All-Star break playing good basketball but twisted his ankle while working with teammate Semi Ojeleye before the team reconvened. 

Some of the Celtics’ best basketball this season has coincided with Hayward’s best performances of the season, particularly against top competition. It has seemed as if his play could dictate just how successful this team will be when the postseason arrives.

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Isaiah Thomas vows to 'get back to a level that I was playing at'

Isaiah Thomas vows to 'get back to a level that I was playing at'

It was only two years ago Isaiah Thomas enjoyed an MVP-caliber season with the Boston Celtics.

Since then, it's been a rough ride for the 5-foot-9 point guard. Thomas hasn't played a full season since 2016 largely due to a nagging hip injury, appearing in only 12 games with the Denver Nuggets in the 2018-19 campaign coming off hip surgery.

Now, as he prepares to enter free agency, Thomas believes he can put in the work to return to form as one of the league's top guards.

"Nobody knew what to expect with me coming off hip surgery last year, and two summers of rehab," Thomas told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. "Now I can go back to being a gym rat this summer, work on my game again and build my body back up --- my muscle mass, my leg strength -- all like I had going into the 2017 season."

Although Thomas never got to contribute to the Nuggets at the level he had hoped, the 30-year-old lauds the organization for helping him get healthy.

"Denver allowed me to take really as much time as I needed, to get back to 100 percent health," he said.

Thomas averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds with the C's in 2016-17 before suffering the hip injury in the postseason and being traded to the Cavaliers in the offseason for Kyrie Irving. He was a second-team All-NBA selection that season and appeared well on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star before his career took a sudden turn.

Now, with those dark times in the rearview, Thomas is ready to prove he still has plenty of those incredible Celtics moments in him.

"I'm going to get back to a level that I was playing at," Thomas said. "I'm excited to show what I can do again."

We'll find out Thomas' new home soon enough, as NBA free agency begins on June 30.

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Reports: Kevin Durant sells his Calif. home, buys one in N.Y.

Reports: Kevin Durant sells his Calif. home, buys one in N.Y.

More real estate news to keep an eye on as NBA free agency approaches Sunday at 6 p.m.

Kevin Durant has sold his Malibu home, according to the Los Angeles Times, and, according to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, he's bought a home in New York.

Durant, who is doubtful to play at all next season after tearing his Achilles' in his brief NBA Finals appearance with the Warriors, opted out of his contract with Golden State and will test free agency, where he'll reportedly meet with the Knicks and where rumors of him teaming with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn abound. 

Bucher, for what it's worth, had the report of Irving buying a home in South Orange, N.J., earlier this month.

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