Celtics

'Hungry' Gordon Hayward looking 'stronger, faster, leaner' in Celtics workouts

'Hungry' Gordon Hayward looking 'stronger, faster, leaner' in Celtics workouts

BOSTON — Boston Celtics assistant coach Scott Morrison said Gordon Hayward has been in the gym every day for the past six weeks, taking advantage of the offseason that evaded him last year when Hayward was recovering from a second ankle surgery.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has been fueling the Hayward offseason hype train in recent weeks and Morrison confirmed the encouraging early returns.

"Gordon looks great,” said Morrison, who is coaching the team’s summer squad this year but also works with Hayward during his morning workouts. "This will be the fifth or sixth week we’ve been going every day. We’ve got a pretty intense weight program three or four days a week; he’s on the court five days a week. 

"He’s getting stronger, getting faster, getting leaner, and, from a basketball perspective, it’s hard to test things like that, but I think he looks pretty good. His shot and ball-handling is a lot crisper. He’s just hungry to get better. I don’t want to speak for him but I’m very happy with the effort and progress that he’s putting in.”

Hayward underwent a follow-up surgery on his injured ankle in late May 2018 to remove plate and screws that had been inserted in his fractured fibula after his opening-night injury. That recovery sapped two months of basketball activities for Hayward and he always looked like he was still playing catchup for much of the 2018-19 season.

After some promising glimpses late last season and in the first round against the Pacers, there is hope that Hayward can be an even more consistent presence for the Celtics next season. It might ultimately be one of the keys if this team hopes to remain competitive despite their offseason defections.

"I think Gordon is going to have a great year. He's putting in as much work as anybody and we get to see it,” Ainge said last month. "I mean, he's here a lot. I'm very excited for Gordon's upcoming year.”

Previously, Ainge noted, "I’m really excited for Gordon’s upcoming season. He’s working hard right now in the gym. He’s here every day with five or six coaches and bodies out there working extremely hard. He’s put a lot of time in. I’m anticipating great things from Gordon this next year.”

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How Tremont Waters fared for Maine Red Claws vs. Lakeland Magic

How Tremont Waters fared for Maine Red Claws vs. Lakeland Magic

With Tacko Fall out due to a toe injury, Tremont Waters was the center of attention for the Maine Red Claws on Thursday night.

Unfortunately for Maine, Waters was unable to propel them to victory as they fell to the Lakeland Magic, 106-103.

It was a rather inefficient day for Waters, as the Boston Celtics rookie had 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting to go along with 11 turnovers.

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He did provide a few nice highlights, though, which you can watch below:

With Waters struggling, it was Bryce Brown leading the way for the Red Claws with 27 points and 5 rebounds.

Waters and the Red Claws will look to bounce back Saturday at 7 p.m. with a home matchup against the Erie Bayhawks.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Rockets-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Kemba Walker explains keeping No. 8 to honor Kobe Bryant: 'We want to keep his legacy going'

Kemba Walker explains keeping No. 8 to honor Kobe Bryant: 'We want to keep his legacy going'

Whenever Kemba Walker looks down at the No. 8 on his jersey, he'll be reminded of the Mamba Mentality.

While others in the NBA switched their jersey numbers in the wake of Kobe Bryant's tragic death, Walker instead decided to honor the Los Angeles Lakers legend by keeping his No. 8. The Boston Celtics guard spoke with ESPN's Rachel Nichols about what it means to wear that number going forward.

"Now, that number means even more. So every time I step on the court, I just want to give 100 percent for him," Walker told Nichols. "That's my goal for the rest of the year and for the rest of my career."

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In the immediate aftermath of Bryant's passing, Walker considered a number change. Evidently, he decided the best way for him to honor Bryant was to continue wearing No. 8 while putting 100-percent effort into every game, just as Kobe would.

"I had a talk about it with some close people in my circle," Walker said. "I definitely thought about giving it up but then I thought, I think Kobe would want me and allow me to wear it. We want to keep his legacy going. I know of a few of us that's kept it. We're all just going to go out there and do what we can to play as hard as possible for Kobe."

Watch below:

In 46 games this season, Walker has averaged 21.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.0 assists while earning his fourth All-Star selection.

A knee injury has kept Walker out of commission for the last few games, but the Celtics are hopeful they'll have him back in the lineup sooner rather than later.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Rockets-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.