Celtics beat Spurs, but lose Gordon Hayward to broken hand
Boston forward Gordon Hayward fractured his left hand 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, 29, managed nine points and two rebounds in 15 minutes before the injury.
He 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 per cent from three-point range.
Hayward departed after suffering the injury with 94 seconds left 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.
He was taken to the locker room and an X-ray confirmed the break.
Hayward spent his first seven NBA seasons with Utah Jazz before joining the Celtics, only to suffer severe leg and ankle injuries in the opening minutes of Boston's 2017-18 season opener, causing him to miss the rest of the campaign.
"This one doesn't feel near as bad as it did two years ago," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "He'll be back. Be off for a few weeks or a month or whatever it is."
Elsewhere, the Houston Rockets won their third straight game by thumping the Chicago Bulls 117-94.
James Harden scored 42 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists and Russell Westbrook added 26 points.
The Golden State Warriors, who are without the injured Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, lost their third consecutive game, doing down 114-108 to Oklahoma City Thunder. - AFP