There’s a reason the backdoor lob to Gordon Hayward to start the second quarter Friday looked eerily familiar.
As NBCSBoston analyst Chris Mannix pointed out, the play was a mirror image of the one the Celtics ran last year – also against the Cavaliers – when Hayward suffered his infamous and gruesome ankle injury.
Thought this was a great spot by @SIChrisMannix: The Celtics tried to run the EXACT alley-oop play that Gordon Hayward got hurt on to start 2nd Q Friday (against the Cavs, no less). Didn't work but was definitely Brad trying to help him get back to "Old G." pic.twitter.com/SspAdMeXd3
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) December 2, 2018
In the play last year, Hayward jabbed left and cut right, floating in the air before coming down hard at an awkward angle.
Friday night, he went backdoor once again, beating his defender and rising up. Though he was unable to complete the alley-oop from Terry Rozier, Hayward did land safely, as Celtics fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.
The Celtics are trying to continue to help Hayward get situated as he works his way back into form. They ran a similar play Saturday against the Timberwolves, and Hayward drew a foul at the rim.
“I think having more of an attacking mentality will help me out,” Hayward said Friday.