Gordon Hayward's third season-opening game with the Boston Celtics was his best, and the most impressive aspect of the performance Wednesday night was his attack mentality.
Despite going up against a Philadelphia 76ers team with excellent size and length on defense, Hayward drove to the basket early and often with success. He scored a team-leading 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and his aggressiveness also led to 11 free throw attempts, of which he made nine.
The veteran forward drove to the basket 18 times in 35 minutes of action, which was well above his per game average last season. Check out the comparison in the stat below:
Gordon Hayward had 18 drives last night.— Tomek Kordylewski (@Timi_093) October 24, 2019
Last year he averaged only 5.7 drives per game. For comparison, James Harden averaged NBA-high 19.6 dpg.
Hayward didn't often take this kind of offensive approach last season, and that wasn't a huge surprise considering he was working his way back from a gruesome leg injury suffered in the 2017-18 season opener.
The Celtics, despite Hayward's effort, weren't able to overcome their poor shooting overall and free throw woes in a 107-93 loss to the Sixers.
His performance was quite encouraging, though, and if he is able to attack the basket and consistently draw fouls, the Celtics could be a much-improved offensive team compared to last season.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.