By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Jayson Tatum deserves all the praise and attention he's getting for a truly dominating performance in the Celtics' double-overtime win over Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers. But it shouldn't go unnoticed that Gordon Hayward came up with arguably the single biggest shot of the game.
With the Celtics clinging to a two-point lead and less than two minutes left in the second OT, Tatum drove to the hoop and drew multiple defenders. He lost control of the ball and quickly regained it, at which point he kicked it out to Hayward behind the three-point line. Hayward popped and hit the dagger from downtown, putting the Celtics up 137-132.
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A pair of fouls rolled the clock down to 1:02. Hayward then truly put the game away when he pulled down an offensive rebound off his own shot with 33 seconds left, which forced the Clippers to start fouling. The Celtics' most thrilling win of the season was decided, thanks to Tatum and Hayward's epic performances.
Hayward didn't have a perfect overall game. He shot 6-for-21 (28.5 percent) from the field. But he did pull down 13 total rebounds with a plus-18 rating. And when it came time for him to hit a killer shot for the Clippers, he buried it.
Hayward got open for the dagger in the first place because of the attention Tatum drew when he had the ball. But it was great to see that, if Tatum doesn't have an opening for a shot of his own, he can find an open teammate and the teammate can finish the play in a clutch situation.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].