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    Stevens on Hayward injury: ‘This one doesn't feel near as bad as it did two years ago’

    Nov 10, 2019
    PHOTO: AP

    SAN ANTONIO — In the midst of Boston's most dominant performance of the season, Celtics point guard Kemba Walker could only muster anger and confusion after learning Gordon Hayward broke his left hand.

    Jaylen Brown scored 30 points and Boston routed the San Antonio Spurs 135-115 on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) in a victory tempered by the loss of Hayward, who will miss at least a month and could face surgery after breaking his left hand late in the first half.

    "I was in shock," Walker said. "In those kinds of situations, it's kind of hard to say anything. You just don't even know what to say sometimes. We're going to miss him for the time that he's out."

    Walker add 26 points as Boston (7-1) won its seventh straight game and set season highs for total points, first quarter scoring (39 points) and first-half scoring (72 points).

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    There was a somberness to the victory, though, after Hayward suffered his second significant injury since signing with the Celtics three seasons ago. The 6-foot-7 forward missed the 2017 season after breaking his leg six minutes into Boston's season opener.

    "This one doesn't feel near as bad as it did two years ago," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "So, he'll be back. Be off for a few weeks or a month or whatever it is."

    The Celtics forward broke his left hand after colliding with San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge with just over a minute remaining in the first half. Hayward was sent for an X-ray that confirmed the diagnosis. He did not return to the game.

    "Going to get with the doctors tomorrow and decide if he needs to do surgery or not," Stevens said. "Sounds like should he decide that the surgery option (is best, it) might actually be a better timeline. So, we'll see what that all plays out to be."

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    DeMar DeRozan had 22 points for the Spurs (5-4), who trailed by as many as 22 points in a lackluster effort of an early tipoff.

    "What surprises me is that we were so unaggressive and so unphysical," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

    Boston has not lost since dropping its season opener to Philadelphia, 107-93, on Oct. 23. The Celtics have outscored their opponents 115-101 since that loss and raised that dominance against the Spurs.

    Boston sped up its pace and went on a 19-3 run after giving up the game's first seven points. Every Celtics starter scored during the run, including seven straight points from Brown to ignite the rally.

    Popovich called a full timeout and replaced all five of his starters in one mass substitution five minutes into the game, but that didn't stem Boston's momentum.

    "They move the ball extremely well, they play well together and we caught onto that a little bit too late," DeRozan said.

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    The dominance continued throughout the second quarter until Hayward exited.

    Hayward winced in pain after banging his left hand against Aldridge's chest attempting to get past the Spurs forward on a screen late in the first half. Hayward appeared to jam the hand once or twice more against Aldridge before exiting the game.

    "Gordon's really playing well right now and we're leaning on him to help us with this season and this run we're trying to make," Brown said. "I know that's really tough. Any time you deal with an injury like that, that's disheartening."

    Hayward had nine points and two rebounds in 15 minutes before exiting.

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    PHOTO: AP
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