Celtics beat Spurs but lose Hayward to broken left hand

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Boston forward Gordon Hayward fractured his left hand Saturday in the Celtics' 135-115 victory at San Antonio, dimming the joy of improving to 7-1 on the NBA season.

Jaylen Brown scored 30 points, Kemba Walker added 26, Jayson Tatum contributed 19 and Marcus Smart came off the bench for Hayward to add 16 to spark the Celtics' triumph.

Hayward managed nine points and two rebounds in 15 minutes before the injury.

Hayward has been enjoying a stellar season with averages of 20.3 points, a team-high 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game. He's also hitting 44% from 3-point range.

The 29-year-old departed after suffering the injury with 94 seconds remaining in the second quarter in a collision with San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge, who was setting a pick on the play and was whistled for a foul.

Hayward was taken to the locker room and an X-ray confirmed the break.

Hayward spent his first seven NBA seasons with Utah before joining the Celtics, only to suffer severe leg and ankle injuries in the opening minutes of Boston's 2017-18 season opener and miss the entire remainder of the campaign.

While Hayward averaged 11.5 points a game this season, it wasn't until the past few games when Hayward appeared to have shaken off the impact of the 2017 injuries.

The Spurs, who fell to 5-4, were led by 22 points from DeMar DeRozan and 20 by Australian reserve guard Patty Mills.

Brown scored seven points and Tatum added five in a 19-3 Boston run after the Spurs scored the game's first seven points, the Celtics taking a 39-30 lead after the first quarter.

Boston stretched the edge to 72-54 at half-time, Brown scoring 20 points in the first half. DeRozan led the Spurs with 14 first-half points.