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Celtics confident in Gordon Hayward’s late-game execution

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Marcus Morris, Brad Stevens, and Al Horford spoke about Hayward’s game-winner on Wednesday in Sacramento.

Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

SACRAMENTO - Gordon Hayward followed up his 30-point performance against the Golden State Warriors with a game-winner on Wednesday night in the Boston Celtics victory over the Sacramento Kings. Despite the theatrics, Hayward downplayed the late-game shot.

“Just had to get it up the length of the court,” said Hayward. “I was able to finish the play off, but really just making a play. ... Everyone was kind of tight on their man there, so it was almost just like one-on-one and the lane kind of cleared out and I was able to make the move going left. Really just took what the defense gave me. If someone would’ve came and helped I would’ve kicked to them.”

Hayward added that tonight wasn’t his best shooting night, while Brad Stevens pointed out that he’s “been hitting (that shot) pretty regularly on a night where he didn’t shoot it great.” Despite these soundbites, the Celtics forward was 6/10 from the floor. Earlier in the season, a tough shooting night for Hayward would have looked a lot uglier, but Stevens and the Celtics are confident in Hayward’s progress and ability, to a point where the head coach is ready to stop talking about his recovery.

“He should have plenty of confidence,” said Stevens. “He’s a heck of a player and we all believe in him. So I’ll probably stop talking about working his way back and just call him Gordon and try to help move forward here, because he’s obviously played great these two nights.”

Marcus Morris remains confident in Hayward’s play, and loves what he’s seeing from the forward on a night-to-night basis as of late.

“He’s building, he’s building,” Morris said. “A lot of people have been trying to write him off, saying he’s not going to be what he was. As a player, that’s tough. He’s doing a good job of bottling all that in and continuing to play and continuing to perform at a high level for us. ... We’re just hoping he just continues to go, continues to grow, and continue to get better, man. We’re gonna ride with him.”

Al Horford was singing a similar tune, touching on his teammate’s ability to ride, what Hayward called, “a rollercoaster of a season”.

“It’s great to see,” Horford said. “As soon as he shot that one it just looked good, and I’m just happy for him because through the ups and downs he stayed with it and made that huge shot at the end.”

Check out everything Morris and Horford had to say below: