Gordon Hayward's missed layup, defensive 'brain farts,' and 10 things we learned from Boston Celtics vs. Phoe

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Gordon Hayward should have dunked it, Marcus Smart doesn't understand the defensive lapses, and the Celtics got burned on some defensive decisions
BOSTON - January was always going to be tough for the Boston Celtics, but it probably wasn't supposed to be this tough.

The Celtics have now lost six of their last eight games. Some guys are struggling. Some are confused. Some seem just tired.

Whatever the case is with them, they need to find their way out of this rut or else what seemed like a bit of a correction could turn into an all-out crash.

Here are 10 things we learned from the Celtics loss to Phoenix.

1. Gordon Hayward should have dunked it

Down five with 37 seconds left, Brad Steven drew up a perfect play that got Gordon Hayward a wide open alley oop, and... well...

Tough pill to swallow here for Hayward, but you've gotta appreciate how supportive of a teammate Marcus Smart is. pic.twitter.com/uPQPxgsVET — Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) January 19, 2020

"I just missed it. I mean, I just missed it," Hayward said, refuting any talk that his foot or ankle were the cause of the miss. Instead, he said he was caught in between laying it up and dunking. "I mean I should have just went up and dunked it. That was the mistake was not dunking. But certainly was caught halfway thinking about it. Should have just went up and dunked it."

Hayward didn't have the best start to the night, but he finished with 22 points on 8-for-20 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. That's not exactly a nothing night.

But the focus will be on the missed layup, which really hurt. Instead of being down three with a chance to get a stop and score, the miss and ensuing free throws essentially put the game out of reach.

There is much consternation over Hayward in some corners of the internet, but Stevens is not one to buy into that.

"He's 11 for 15 on Wednesday night. Maybe we just overreact to a game or two, I don't know," he said. "I think he's been one of the most efficient guys on our team all year. At least I think he was, before I checked last Monday. I wouldn't worry too much about it; I'm not worried about it. He'll certainly…
John Karalis | JKaralis@masslive.com
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