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Jayson Tatum slams idea that the Celtics are better without Gordon Hayward

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The Boston Celtics may have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals even without Gordon Hayward, but that doesn’t mean they do not need the veteran swingman. Just ask Jayson Tatum.

In his postgame press conference after the Celtics beat the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the conference finals, Tatum addressed the talks about Boston being a better team without Hayward. The 22-year-old star, however, can’t believe that such idea exist before dissecting how the former Utah Jazz star impacts the team.

“It’s crazy anyone would think we are better without him…We’re so much more dynamic and versatile with him,” Jayson Tatum said of Gordon Hayward, per Brian Robb of  the Boston Sports Journal.

Hayward made his 2020 playoff debut on Saturday after missing the past month recovering from a Grade 3 ankle sprain. Nonetheless, before he had to exit the bubble and return, he was averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from deep.

In Game 3 versus the Heat, Hayward put up six points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block in 30 minutes of action coming off the bench for the Celtics. While his numbers were not that great, he still showed flashes of the brilliance that made him an All-Star three years ago.

What is amazing, however, is the fact that it is his first 5-on-5 game in a month since getting injured.

With that considered, it’s safe to say that Tatum is right about how Hayward actually makes the Celtics a better team contrary to the criticisms. For what it’s worth, it is also something that Brad Stevens and Co. won in Hayward’s return to the floor.

The Celtics are now just one game behind the Heat, 2-1, after their 117-106 Game 3 win. Hopefully, Hayward will be able to build on his first game back to help Boston claw their way back against the tough-minded Miami squad.