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Hayward Likely Out For Season, Next Man Up

"Hayward broke his leg, Hayward has broken his leg." Just five minutes into the season and this is what we heard from the TNT play by play. In a matter of minutes, the summer's hype and expectations came crashing down leaving everyone wondering where the Celtics could possibly go from here. It might be hard to see right now, but the future is bright, the season is not over. This Celtics team is much better than last seasons, even without Gordon Hayward. Kyrie Irving will be able to shoulder the load, Jaylen Brown with a year under his belt gets his opportunity to shine and Jayson Tatum, although under unfortunate circumstances, gets a chance to play crucial minutes as a 19 year old in his rookie season. If there is anything to be learned from watching a Brad Stevens coached Celtics, it's that they are never out of it.

Despite understandably lacking focus in the 1st half, trailing by as much as 18 points, the C's battled back to take a late lead, ultimately falling 102-99 to the Cavs. Kyrie (22 pts 10 ast) came up just short on a desperation 3 with a chance to tie the game as time expired. Jaylen Brown showed off his potential with a team high 25 pts and Marcus Smart proved to be excellent yet again off the bench with 12 pts 9 reb and lock down defense.

Next Man Up

With Hayward's injury, all eyes are now on Jayson Tatum. Although it is only one game, it appears the rookie has what it takes to step into the spotlight here in Boston. In his first career game he put up 14 pts 10 reb and 3 ast. It never seemed like the moment was too big for him. 

Given the state of the Eastern Conference, the Celtics should still be a top 3 team, at the very worst 4th. Progression of young talent will be key this year, while at times leaning on Kyrie and Horford for consistency. 

For more, follow Ricky on twitter: @RickyG43_BSoT
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