Boston Celtics

Gordon Hayward may not be on the court, but he’s a definite believer in what his Celtics can do in the third round.

Writing a blog entry for his official website Friday, Hayward detailed what it will take to knock LeBron James and the Cavs off the top of the Eastern Conference and earn the club’s first trip to the NBA Finals since 2010.

“Taking down Cleveland is definitely going to be a challenge for us. I believe we’re capable of it,” Hayward, out since suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s opening-night loss to the Cavaliers, wrote. “It’s going to take a complete team effort. We’re going to have to get scoring from multiple different guys. We’re going to have to execute defensively.”

The C’s went 1-2 against the Cavaliers during the regular season, and with James terrorizing the Celtics for 24 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds to go with an efficient 9-for-20 night from the floor in the final meeting. James has since taken his game to another level, though, and enters this series averaging 27.5 points and 9.1 assists per game this postseason.

Slowing James down will be a struggle, and Hayward himself acknowledged that.

“Thankfully, we have a lot of guys we can throw at LeBron and try to slow him down. He is playing at a ridiculous level right now. It’s unbelievable that he’s in Year 15, and he’s still playing like this. I’ve been doing this blog for several seasons now, and come playoff time, I always end up writing about LeBron and whether he can carry his team. Year after year, he carries his team,” Hayward wrote. “You’re not going to stop him. But we have to do whatever we can to slow him down a little bit.

“We can’t let him dictate the series.”

Hayward, like the Celtics, is probably hoping that Marcus Morris can continue to be LeBron’s most difficult matchup.

Even if James gets going, however, Hayward has the utmost confidence in his team.

“We’ve shown throughout the year that we can beat anybody in the league on any given night. We’re going to have to play extremely well to beat them four times,” said Hayward. “But we can do it. And I believe that we will.”

But before you get too excited, it’s worth pointing out that Celtics president Danny Ainge confirmed to Toucher and Rich on Thursday that Hayward will not be returning to the court at any point this postseason.

The Celtics and Cavaliers square off in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals this Sunday at 3:30 p.m., and can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub with pregame coverage beginning at 3 p.m.