Gordon Hayward ties career high with 39 points vs. Cleveland — is he officially back?

Torrey Hart
Yahoo Sports Contributor

Just over two years after brutally breaking his leg on the road in Cleveland, Gordon Hayward had his best performance as a Boston Celtic on the same court Tuesday night.

It’s been a long wait for the star, who missed all but one game in the 2017-18 season due to the injury, then returned to average 11.5 points (his lowest mark since his rookie season) in 2018-19.

In the 119-113 win over the Cavaliers on Tuesday, Hayward put on a clinic, hitting 100 percent of his shots from field goal range (17-for-17) en route to tying his career high of 39 points — also his highest-scoring game with Boston. He added eight assists and seven rebounds, and went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

His previous scoring high with the Celtics was 35 points, from Jan. 2, 2019 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Hayward’s final shot of the game was a particularly big one, as he salvaged a missed 3-point attempt from Kemba Walker to seal the Celtics’ fifth-straight win.

Hayward, 29 years old and a nine-year veteran of the league, is now averaging 20.3 points per game on the year, trailing only Walker and Jayson Tatum on his own team. In the 2016-17 season, when he made his first All-Star team, Hayward averaged 21.9 points.

Is it too soon to declare him officially back?

Gordon Hayward tied his career high with 39 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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