Like many others, I have virtually dissected the videos covering the seconds before Gordon Hayward's injury. It took place too fast to view it in real time, so I literally watched the incident frame by frame. One thing is indisputable. Lebron James went for the block. Jae Crowder went for the body. He made no attempt to deflect the incoming pass. He turned and backed into, and slightly under, Gordon. Crowder never left his feet. Did he undercut him. Yes, he did. Did he mean to hurt him. Not to the extent that actually occurred, I would hope.

Anyone who plays the game knows you don't do this. It is a dangerous move. Undercutting a player on the move and in the air is a dirty play. Plain and simple. Recent history with Crowder leads me to believe he felt there was no way he was going to be posterized by the guy that replaced him in the Celtics starting lineup. Remember, Avery Bradley was traded to make way for Hayward's arrival. Can you picture Avery making this move. I can't.

Jae was verbal and bitter about the Boston fans cheering Gordon when the Jazz came to the Garden. He didn't like it, and he let us know. We let him know right back that we cheer and boo as we please. Boston fans are knowledgeable and intense. One other point. Danny Ainge didn't like Crowder's response either. I believe that is a minor portion of the reason Jae is no longer a Celtic.

Also, this incident took place in Cleveland. Dirty defense (notice I didn't say destructive) would not go over well in Boston. We are also well aware that the Celtics are (not were) the strongest potential block to the Cavs getting to the Finals. The tweet below contains the too-often-used, generic words of condolence. Pretty weak stuff. Some may infer a tone of sarcasm. Make your own decisions.

With all of the facts before us, it would be almost too easy to verbally attack Jae Crowder as a villain. Like all Celtics fans, I needed time, investigation and scrutiny before making any decision at all. I did that, and I would recommend any of our readers to do what I did. Look at the action just prior to the injury and stop/start the video to break it down frame-by-frame. Lebron went for the block. Crowder went for the body, never even attempting to deflect the pass or block the upcoming shot.

I certainly doubt that he intentionally sought to end Gordon's debut season as a Celtic, but that appears to be the result. Danny wants, and needs, to win. He has always been that way. He is realistic, but he still wants to win this season. The young guys are going to get much-needed time on the court, and I am already looking good for picking Jaylen Brown in all my fantasy teams when no one else wanted him. Terry Rozier had a good game last night, and he is in demand in fantasy now. Jayson Tatum is a future super star. Danny will also make another move or two that should help our cause.

I took my time on this. No rush to judgement
. There is my take. Jae hated the cheers for Gordon. He will say that he likes the boos when he comes to the Garden, further stating that the boos motivate him, or some such drivel. Get used to it, Jae. You will hear them for a while.

Photo credit: Winslow Townson/AP Photo

Tom Lane 10/19/2017 06:15:00 AM Edit
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