Celtics

Hayward’s goal this season? 'Win the whole thing'

Hayward’s goal this season? 'Win the whole thing'

CAMBRIDGE – There’s a clear an undeniable finish line for Gordon Hayward as he continues down the road to recovery.

Hayward, who was lost for all of last season following a gruesome left ankle injury five minutes into the season opener at Cleveland, expects to be back on the floor playing 5-on-5 basketball next month.

“I’m just about full speed,” said Hayward who was in town as part of a Comcast preview of Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” video game, which will be out October 12. “And as with everything, see how my ankle reacts to that. So, I’ll go and test it out and see where it is. I feel a lot better after the second surgery. I’m excited to get back out on the court.”

Here’s more from an exclusive 1-on-1 interview with Hayward who is a big-time gamer and a really nice guy, but showed absolutely no mercy in blasting my ass to smithereens repeatedly in Black Ops 4 on Thursday night.

HAYWARD ON THE SECOND SURGERY …

“Everything happened so fast. Literally, I did a test and found out … and the next five minutes he said we should probably get the plate out. Scheduled it (surgery) for later that night. It was fast. I had no time to think about it.

MORE HAYWARD ON THE SECOND SURGERY …

“It was really good. After that surgery, my ankle felt tons better immediately afterwards. I kind of set my sights and moved forward.”

HAYWARD ON MARCUS SMART’S RETURN …

“We’re running it back. We got just about everybody back and that’s really exciting for me. I had a front row seat to all the games. I had a chance to be around the guys. I didn’t get a chance to be on the court. For me to be able to play with them next year … Marcus Smart brings so much stuff to the table for us. He’s a winner. It’ll be fun to play with all those guys next year.”

HAYWARD ON THE EXPECTATIONS WITH NO LEBRON JAMES IN THE EAST AND SO MANY KEY CELTICS, INCLUDING HIMSELF, BACK …

“We’re going to try to win the whole thing. That’s what our goal is; that’s where our goal should be. We have the talent to do it. I think for us, it’s … hopefully we keep everybody healthy. For me, I’m going to be focused on training camp, getting through that first practice. It’s been so long for me to even be out on the court. I’m very excited about where we can go next year.

HAYWARD ON REGULAR SEASON GAMES HE’S LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING …

“For me, just everybody. It seems like forever since I played. The NBA has shifted again with guys going different places. I’m excited to play everybody.”

ON KAWHI LEONARD IN TORONTO …

“We were all waiting to see what was going to happen with that; it’s been a wild story. He’s going to make them a better team. They lose a guy in DeMar (DeRozan) who is extremely talented and get another guy in Kawhi who is talented too. They’re gonna be a little bit different. There are other teams in the East that are going to take a steps (forward) with more experience, some of the younger teams will be better. Everyone is writing the East off, but I think it’ll be a tough East.”

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NBA Rumors: Celtics staffer believes Tacko Fall is worth an investment

NBA Rumors: Celtics staffer believes Tacko Fall is worth an investment

Tacko Fall took the Las Vegas Summer League by storm not only with his size, but his ability to impact the game in ways players that big struggle to do consistently at the highest level. 

The Celtics got a front-row seat to Fall's play after signing the big man to an Exhibit 10 contract following the 2019 NBA Draft. He averaged 7.2 points, four rebounds and 1.2 blocks on 77 percent shooting to go along with some eye-popping dunks where he barely left the floor. 

It's up to Boston whether to carry him on the roster next season, and one anonymous Celtics staffer believes Fall is worth an investment, especially if he continues to develop at the rate he has been since the draft. 

The Celtics filled its last roster spot by signing Javonte Green to a partially guaranteed contract this week and have both two-way contract slots occupied by Max Strus and Tremont Waters. 

Boston typically brings in more than 15 players under contract into camp for competition purposes, but the Exhibit 10 contract gives Fall a guaranteed camp invite along with a $50,000 bonus if the Celtics waive him and want to sign him to the Maine Red Claws. 

It's difficult to see what the staffer means exactly by saying he's "worth an investment." But whether it means a full-time roster spot, a two-way deal or the $50,000 bonus to play in Maine all season, it's clear the Celtics want to give the 7-7 big man out of UCF an extended look this year. While Fall has a very long way to go before he can crack an NBA rotation, you can't deny how much fun it is to watch him dwarf the giants of the league. 

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WATCH: Brian Scalabrine swats Stephen Jackson's shot in BIG3 game

WATCH: Brian Scalabrine swats Stephen Jackson's shot in BIG3 game

Former Celtics forward and NBC Sports Boston's own Brian Scalabrine showed he still has a little something left over from his playing days during a BIG3 game Sunday. 

Scalabrine found himself guarding former scoring wing Stephen Jackson, and when Jackson went up for a reverse layup on the right side of the rim, Scalabrine was there to send it back. Since BIG3 basketball is played in the half-court, Scal's team quickly turned the play into two points. 

This shouldn't come all that surprising though. Say what you want about Scal's offensive game when he didn't have his jumper going, but the man was always an underrated post defender. 

Given the state of the Celtics frontcourt going into the 2019-20 season, could they use some of Scal's interior presence on the defensive end? Probably not, but that most likely won't stop him from sharing his highlights with Brad Stevens and the Celtics coaching staff. 

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