Gordon Hayward played the most minutes of his Celtics career on Friday night against the Toronto Raptors, playing 39 minutes in an overtime game in which Boston pulled out a win over the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors.
After that performance, some figured Hayward would be under a minutes restriction, or even sit out for Saturday night’s game. After all, Hayward had played just one back-to-back before, and that was last week against the Utah Jazz. In those contests, Hayward was limited to playing just 24 minutes.
But Celtics coach Brad Stevens told the media Saturday that Hayward’s minutes restriction has been lifted. “I was told he’s not on a minutes restriction, so I just played who I thought gave us the best chance of winning that given game on that given night.”
Hayward did play 26 minutes on Saturday night, but wasn’t quite as effective as the night before, scoring only seven points and adding three turnovers. In the end, Stevens left him on the bench along with his starter teammates at the end of a blowout Jazz win.
Donovan Mitchell gets support of Snyder
Donovan Mitchell received some national attention for taking 35 shots in Friday night’s game against Philadelphia, even though he scored 31 points. As ESPN pointed out, it was the first 35-shot, zero-assist game in the NBA since Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points on Jan. 24, 2014.
But Quin Snyder wasn’t upset with how Mitchell many times shot the ball.
“When we throw out a blanket stat, we’re not talking about the context of the game. If we’d have hit a shot last night, he’d have had some assists. It’s not like Donovan was out there being selfish,” Snyder said.
And he even went the other way with it: if Mitchell is reluctant to shoot, that might be regarded as more selfish, because Mitchell’s role on the team is to take the shots no one else can.
“The game will dictate. The last thing we need from Donovan is for him to feel somehow that him shooting the ball is a selfish act, because him not shooting is more selfish given his role on the team,” Snyder said. “I want him to make good reads, but that starts with attacking.”
Mitchell made good on his coach’s support, scoring 28 points and adding six assists in the Jazz’s win.