By James Young
The NBA season kicked off this past Tuesday, October 17th. Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference looked to grab an important win early in the season.
The game was a battle of the top two eastern teams, the new-look Boston Celtics and Lebron James-led Cavaliers. The two teams have bad blood after the summer’s past events in which all-star point guard Kyrie Irving was traded to the Celtics from the Cavaliers.
Entering the game, the Cavaliers were without starting point guard Isaiah Thomas while the Celtics had no injuries.
The Cavaliers won the contest over the Celtics, 102-99. Although Lebron got his ‘revenge’ on ex-teammate Kyrie, all the talk was centered around Boston’s Gordon Hayward.
Just 5:15 into the game, Celtics all-star small forward Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle and leg injury and was diagnosed with a fractured ankle by the team.
Senior Andrew Charlebois was tuned into the game at the time. He said, “I knew it wasn’t good as soon as he landed, it was just so awkward. I didn’t realize how bad it was until they showed the replay and the announcer confirmed it was broken.”
After the game, coach Brad Stevens said that Hayward had dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia. Stevens told reporters, “You hurt for him. It’s a tough, tough deal, but I guess that’s part of the risk of injury. I really feel for him.”
Following Hayward’s exit, the Celtics couldn’t get anything started and shot 34% from the field, including 2-16 from the three-point line in the first half.
At the end of the half, the Celtics were down 54-38. With a strong performance by rookie Jayson Tatum, the Celtics were able to cut the deficit to one at the end of the third quarter.
Bleacher Report noted that there were twelve lead changes in the fourth quarter alone, including three ties. But, Lebron James was too much for the Celtics as he scored and assisted on Cleveland’s final two field goals. He finished the game only one assist shy of a triple double after being questionable with an ankle injury.
For the Cavaliers, Derrick Rose had an underwhelming game in his first start. According to Bleacher Report, he had the team’s worst plus/minus rating at minus seven. He also shot a poor 5-14 from the field throughout the contest. The defending Eastern Conference champions seemed to miss their injured point guard Isaiah Thomas, and hope that he will be back as soon as possible
Despite the injury of Hayward, the Celtics were still able to make a game of it. There is much speculation about the Celtics going forward.
North Attleboro basketball captain Derek Shanks shared his thoughts: “Although you could see that the team was heavily affected from the events earlier in the game, I though they really came together as a team and played hard,” he said. “I’m excited to see where they go from here.”
The Celtics certainly need time to come together and build chemistry, but there seems to be lots of upside to the young team.