The Boston Celtics did it the hard way in Game 1, scraping to a 113-107 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime. But in addition to Hayward, the Celtics will be without Irving, Marcus Smart and reserve center Daniel Theis. The Bucks star dropped 29 points and pulled down 11 rebounds the last time the teams met in the regular season, and the Celtics will need to find ways to slow down his bull rushes to the rim. Overcoming the loss of Gordon Hayward for the season and more recently Kyrie Irving has been made up for by fantastic coaching and other players stepping up.
A little over a month later, Smart said he felt notably better. So right now the timetable is still the same.
"It's going well. I'm trying to stay in shape".
Pressed if there was any chance he could return earlier than a potential first-round Game 7, Smart left open the possibility. So I think I have another doctor's appointment, a checkup, in the next two weeks.
This is only Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals between the Celtics and Bucks. Milwaukee comes in as the heavy underdog, the No. 7 seed going against the second-seeded Celtics.
Whether they can do that remains to be seen, in part because Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo may have something to say about it.
Smart confidently shot from different spots on the court before Sunday's game. "The thumb felt well", Smart told reporters. "So I'll be playing like that when I come back for a while, for probably the next couple of months". He said it was his first time shooting since the surgery.