BOSTON — There will be no trip to a tropical island for Gordon Hayward and his family during the NBA All-Star break.
The Celtics forward and his wife, Robyn, became parents of a third daughter, Nora Mae, three weeks ago, so any vacation getaway during the team’s week off is out of the question.
Instead, Hayward will be taking care of his family responsibilities at home in a western suburb of Boston and making a few trips to the Celtics’ practice facility to stay sharp.
“We’re actually staying around,” said Hayward. “With the newborn, it’s hard to go anywhere, so we’ll be around and I’ll be in the facility doing my ankle work and continuing to get shots up and trying to stay ready.
“It’ll actually be really good that we’re not going anywhere. I’m able to continue to put some work in.”
It has been a difficult season for the 28-year-old Hayward in his comeback from a dislocated ankle and fractured leg.
He has struggled at times trying to get back into a flow after missing all but one half of one quarter in the 2017-18 season and there has been a lack of consistency in Hayward’s game.
But after some offensive woes in January, Hayward entered the All-Star break with a stretch of three consecutive solid performances.
In a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and the Detroit Pistons, Hayward averaged 21 points on 19-for-30 shooting, making 9-of-13 shots from 3-point range while grabbing 14 rebounds and handing out 14 assists.
Hayward has been trying to get comfortable all season, and with 53 games under his belt, the forward definitely looked that way in the final three games before the break.
“I don’t know if I can put a percentage on (how the ankle feels),” said Hayward. “I know that I’m definitely moving a lot better than I was at the start. I think that’s the important thing is how I’m moving.
“I’m not too worried about shots going in or out. I’m more worried about how I feel, am I attacking the basket, am I playing forceful, and for the most part, I feel like I’ve done that, especially more recently. So things are getting better.”
Having a productive Hayward down the stretch and in the playoffs in April and May would boost the Celtics’ chances in the Eastern Conference.
During one stretch in late January, Hayward had rough back-to-back outings against the Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets when he combined to go 1 for 11 and scored four points, the lone field goal coming on a breakaway dunk to end a 0-for-10 slide.
He was also limited to three points against the Oklahoma City Thunder and four in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
But Hayward was one of the main reasons why the Celtics knocked off the 76ers without Kyrie Irving Tuesday night, scoring 26 points and missing only one of seven 3-point attempts. Then, he started against the Pistons on Wednesday night and contributed 18 points with eight assists.
“Eighteen (points) on eight shots is pretty darn good with eight assists,” said coach Brad Stevens. “We’ve been playing through him a lot. Obviously in the last few games with the ball going in, he’s obviously in a good rhythm.”
Hayward’s shooting percentage is up to 44 percent (his career number), including 34 percent from 3-point range, which is down from 36 percent in his career.
The improvement has been noticeable, and if Hayward stays on that path, the Celtics are going to be a stronger team in the final six-plus weeks of the regular season.
“He looked very confident,” said Al Horford. “I’m very happy to see him just being aggressive, attacking the basket, just happy for Gordon.
“It’s been a long road for him. He just keeps making strides and that’s where we need him to be so he can be at its best once playoff time comes.”
Hayward has had to be patient throughout the season, losing his job in the starting lineup after 15 games and adapting to a new role off the bench.
“It’s a process and I’ve got to stay patient and just keep working, put my head down and keep working and just shoot it out,” said Hayward last month. “It’s obviously frustrating, but it is what it is. Just got to keep working.”