Hayward breaks left hand in Celtics’ 135-115 rout of Spurs

National Sports

Boston Celtics’ Kemba Walker (8) and Gordon Hayward celebrate a basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — In the midst of Boston’s most dominant performance of the season, Celtics point guard Kemba Walker could only muster anger and confusion after learning Gordon Hayward broke his left hand.

Jaylen Brown scored 30 points and Boston routed the San Antonio Spurs 135-115 on Saturday in a victory tempered by the loss of Hayward, who will miss at least a month and could face surgery after breaking his left hand late in the first half.

“I was in shock,” Walker said. “In those kinds of situations, it’s kind of hard to say anything. You just don’t even know what to say sometimes. We’re going to miss him for the time that he’s out.”

Walker add 26 points as Boston (7-1) won its seventh straight game and set season highs for total points, first quarter scoring (39 points) and first-half scoring (72 points).

There was a somberness to the victory, though, after Hayward suffered his second significant injury since signing with the Celtics three seasons ago. The 6-foot-7 forward missed the 2017 season after breaking his leg six minutes into Boston’s season opener.

“This one doesn’t feel near as bad as it did two years ago,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “So, he’ll be back. Be off for a few weeks or a month or whatever it is.”

The Celtics forward broke his left hand after colliding with San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge with just over a minute remaining in the first half. Hayward was sent for an X-ray that confirmed the diagnosis. He did not return to the game.

“Going to get with the doctors tomorrow and decide if he needs to do surgery or not,” Stevens said. “Sounds like should he decide that the surgery option (is best, it) might actually be a better timeline. So, we’ll see what that all plays out to be.”

DeMar DeRozan had 22 points for the Spurs (5-4), who trailed by as many as 22 points in a lackluster effort of an early tipoff.

“What surprises me is that we were so unaggressive and so unphysical,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

Boston has not lost since dropping its season opener to Philadelphia, 107-93, on Oct. 23. The Celtics have outscored their opponents 115-101 since that loss and raised that dominance against the Spurs.

Boston sped up its pace and went on a 19-3 run after giving up the game’s first seven points. Every Celtics starter scored during the run, including seven straight points from Brown to ignite the rally.

Popovich called a full timeout and replaced all five of his starters in one mass substitution five minutes into the game, but that didn’t stem Boston’s momentum.

“They move the ball extremely well, they play well together and we caught onto that a little bit too late,” DeRozan said.

The dominance continued throughout the second quarter until Hayward exited.

Hayward winced in pain after banging his left hand against Aldridge’s chest attempting to get past the Spurs forward on a screen late in the first half. Hayward appeared to jam the hand once or twice more against Aldridge before exiting the game.

“Gordon’s really playing well right now and we’re leaning on him to help us with this season and this run we’re trying to make,” Brown said. “I know that’s really tough. Any time you deal with an injury like that, that’s disheartening.”

Hayward had nine points and two rebounds in 15 minutes before exiting.

STILL RIDING

San Antonio reserve point guard Derrick White continued to ride a stationary bike to stay loose after suffering a hard fall to the court against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 3.

White remained in the game against the Lakers following the fall, but his backside has tightened up since.

“I felt better today than I have the past couple of games,” White said. “Just try to keep it loose the best I can.”

White said his time away from the bench should end soon.

“Maybe next game and then that will be it,” White said. “I don’t like being over there but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”

TIP-INS

Celtics: Center Enes Kanter missed his seventh straight game after suffering a bruised left knee in Boston’s season opener. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Kanter felt good after participating in pregame workouts but is still not ready to play. … Marcus Smart exited with 9:47 remaining in the game after taking a knee to the groin. Smart attempted to walk off the injury but quickly signaled for a substitution after doubling over in pain.

Spurs: Aldridge averaged 40 points per game against Boston last season but was limited to three points on 1-for-4 shooting Saturday. . San Antonio’s last home loss to Boston was March 31, 2011. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce combined for 63 points in the victory.

UP NEXT

Celtics: Host Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

Spurs: Host Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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