Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving return to court, that’s enough of a win for Boston
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Gordon Hayward finally returned to the court, and Kyrie Irving got to play at North Carolina.
Hayward scored 10 points in his first game in nearly a year for the Boston Celtics, who fell to the Charlotte Hornets 104-97 on Friday night - the opening night of the NBA preseason schedule.
“Been waiting a long time to lace back up and get out there with the guys,” Hayward said.
It was Hayward’s first time in a game since Oct. 17, when he broke his fibula and dislocated his ankle about five minutes into the Celtics’ regular season opener at Cleveland. Irving played his lone college season at Duke in 2010-11, but was limited to 11 games that season by injury and never played against North Carolina - the Blue Devils’ biggest rival.
Hayward’s first points came when he grabbed an offensive rebound in transition early in the opening quarter and scored easily. He finished 2 for 7 from the field, playing about 23 minutes.
Irving played for the first time since March 11, when his 2017-18 season ended with a knee issue. He finished with nine points.
Charlotte outscored Boston 59-37 in the second half, giving new Hornets coach James Borrego a win in his exhibition debut.
Jeremy Lamb scored 15 for Charlotte, which finished with seven players in double figures. Jaylen Brown scored 14 points and Marcus Morris had 12 for the Celtics.