Gordon Hayward Is the Biggest X-factor in the Eastern Conference Playoffs

The Boston Celtics play in their first playoff game on Sunday against the Indiana Pacers. As we all know, this team has had its ups and downs during the regular season. Maybe a bit more downs than ups, but regardless, we made it to the playoffs.

Now that the playoffs are here, we can start to forget about the regular season and what we saw from the Celtics then. The regular season is over and done with. This team needs to understand its potential and how far they can actually go in the playoffs. Not only can this team compete with any team in the Eastern Conference, but if they make it to the Finals, they can give Golden State a run for their money. That’s the type of potential this team has.

So what can make the Celtics that championship contending team that everybody was expecting all year long? We all know what Kyrie brings to the table. We know what type of player Al Horford becomes when the playoffs start. We’ve even seen what Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown can do leading a playoff team. What will be the deciding factor if this team is championship-contending material or not? Gordon Hayward.

Look, Gordon Hayward hasn’t had the best year of his career. Everybody’s expectations of him returning to his full form right off the bat were way too high. This year has been a rollercoaster for him, but he finished the season strong, giving Boston fans hope of what he can bring to the table come playoff time.

Remember when Gordon dropped 30 points against the Golden State Warriors in a 30-point blowout at Oracle? Remember when Gordon Hayward scored 21 points off the bench on perfect 9-9 shooting in a 20-point blowout over the Indiana Pacers just over a week ago? When Gordon Hayward plays like that, it’s almost impossible to stop the Celtics. As a matter of fact, the Celtics were 6-0 during the regular season when Gordon scored 20+ points.

That will be the difference maker for the Boston Celtics and how their playoff run turns out. Although I can’t expect Gordon to score more than 20 points every game off the bench, I hope to see him become a more significant part of the offense. Kyrie wants Gordon to be more aggressive because the team is pretty damn good when he is. Gordon will get more opportunities, and I believe he’ll become the game-changer we all expected him to be when he first arrived in Boston almost two summers ago. I mean, he did say that the playoffs were the reason why he came to Boston.

Gordon Hayward is an X-factor simply because the Celtics’ playoff run can end real good or really bad. How Gordon Hayward plays in his first playoff series for the Boston Celtics will decide which of the two it is. If the last few games of the regular season were a sign of things to come, the Celtics will be having a lot of fun this upcoming postseason.

Photo: MassLive.com

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