Gordon Hayward came off the bench with a bang, scoring 35 points in 31 minutes, leading the Boston Celtics to a 115-102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Hayward shot a scorching 14-of-18 from the field, including 4-of-7 from the field, stepping up on the offensive end in the absence of Kyrie Irving, who was sidelined with an irritation in his right eye.
According to @ESPNStatsInfo, Gordon Hayward's 35 points off the bench are the most for a Celtics reserve since Ricky Davis in April 2005.- Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 3, 2019
Along with Hayward, Terry Rozier impressed, starting in place of Irving at point guard. Rozier got in on the action early, scoring 11 first-quarter points to finish with 16 points and four assists on the night.
Hayward scored 13 points in the second quarter as the Celtics went on an 18-6 run to take the lead to double digits, capped off by this Marcus Smart alley-oop.
C's turning turnovers into easy buckets 😍 pic.twitter.com/ZCTGMERADK- Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 3, 2019
Boston took a 60-42 lead into the half-time break, but a monster 20-point third quarter from Karl-Anthony Towns helped cut the lead down to six points, with Hayward keeping the Celtics in front with some timely buckets.
While the Celtics were without Irving, the Timberwolves were missing Robert Covington, Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague, and their depth was tested against the Celtics' rotation.
Hayward kept it up in the fourth quarter knocking down a mid-range jumper followed by his fourth three-pointer of the night to give the Celtics a 106-92 lead, carrying them down the stretch, before checking out to a huge ovation from the TD Garden crowd.
Gordon Hayward can't miss! pic.twitter.com/VNFsf3dbAE- Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 3, 2019
Horford finished with 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting as the Celtics improve to 22-15 on the season.
For the Timberwolves, Towns finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, while Andrew Wiggins added a season-high 31 points on 10-for-18 shooting as they now sit at 17-20.