Boston Celtics

Daddy's home: Gordon Hayward aids Game 3 win, plans to stay in bubble

Despite limited on-court work coming back from a grade III ankle sprain, Hayward logged 30 minutes, 30 seconds of floor time in Saturday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

If you simply glanced at his stat line — 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting — you might be underwhelmed and yet Hayward routinely produced key moments that helped the Celtics fend off all of Miami’s charges en route to a 117-106 triumph.

As Miami tried to make a final surge, Hayward drew traffic accelerating at the basket and zipped a pretty feed to Kemba Walker for a corner 3 with three minutes to play.

Not only does the history of grade III sprains suggest a longer recovery timeline but Hayward departed the bubble, had to quarantine upon return, and only played a little bit of 3-on-3 ball in the ramp to Saturday’s game.

He’ll get extra recovery time and a chance for extended practice reps that will only help him shake the limited amount of rust displayed.

Hayward has the chance to completely swing this series, especially with the way Miami had to account for his presence on the offensive end, freeing up opportunities for Walker, Tatum, and Brown, who all finished north of 20 points.

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