BOSTON (AP) — Gordon Hayward followed up his top scoring game of the season with his best overall performance since coming to the Boston Celtics.
Gordon Hayward had 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the short-handed Celtics in a 114-93 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.
“It was fun,” said Hayward, who was coming off a season-high 35 points on Wednesday night in a victory over Minnesota. “I think when we have good spacing, we have talented players and it just makes the game easier. If you make the right read, everybody gets involved and it’s fun.”
Jaylen Brown scored 21 points, Jayson Tatum added 18 points, and Al Horford had 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
The Celtics won easily despite playing their second straight game with star guard Kyrie Irving sidelined by scratched corneas. Without Irving, the Celtics moved the ball around and had 35 assists on 42 field goals.
Hayward and Horford had eight apiece and Terry Rozier, who started for Irving, added seven assists for the Celtics.
“We’ve really tried to emphasise that all year,” coach Brad Stevens said. “For the most part everybody was in a good rhythm and playing well together and seeking out the right shot. We’ve just got to keep doing that as much as possible.”
Luka Doncic had 19 points and nine assists for Dallas. Harrison Barnes scored 20 points, and DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Dirk Nowitzki, who received two standing ovations, was scoreless and had two rebounds for Dallas. Celtics fans chanted “Dirk! Dirk!” in the final minute, hoping he would make a shot in what might have been his final appearance in Boston.
“It’s sweet when not only your home fans, but fans on the road appreciate what you’ve done for the last two decades,” Nowitzki said after going zero for 10. “I appreciate the fans of Boston. Unfortunately, I’m really disappointed I couldn’t even make one. I had some great looks.”
Nowitzki said he hasn’t made up his mind about a 22nd season, but was grateful to Boston’s fans for the sendoff they gave him if Friday was it.
“They’re great sports fans. It’s a great sports town. They know the game and they appreciate the game,” Nowitzki said.
Hayward was flirting with his first career triple-double before going to the bench midway through the fourth quarter with Boston up by 22.
Hayward said he’s never had a triple-double, but has thought about it.
“I’m big enough to see over the defence and make skip passes and those type of things. It’s something I’ve been working on,” Hayward said. “It’s a little bit of a different role. I’ve always enjoyed making plays for others more than for myself. I like getting assists.”
Hayward, who missed all but a few minutes of last season after breaking his leg in the season opener, started the week with his only scoreless game of the season.
“It’s good to see him getting back to his movement and looking like his old self, and being more consistent,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.