Celtics Notebook: Frank Vogel has guidance for Brad Stevens on Hayward front

Tuesday, 07 November 2017, 11:39:33 AM. ORLANDO, Fla. — Frank Vogel didn’t need to be asked. The Magic coach — and former Celtics assistant and video guy — was leading the Pacers when Paul George broke his leg in a national team scrimmage three years ago. He had a flashback when Gordon Hayward fractured his ankle in the season opener.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Frank Vogel didn’t need to be asked. The Magic coach — and former Celtics assistant and video guy — was leading the Pacers when Paul George broke his leg in a national team scrimmage three years ago. He had a flashback when Gordon Hayward fractured his ankle in the season opener.

“I was watching the game, so the first thing I thought about was Paul and what that felt like and what my experiences were like,” said Vogel, who developed a strong friendship with Brad Stevens when the two were coaching across town from each other in Indianapolis. “So I shot (Stevens) a text and kind of said, ‘I’m here if you need anything.’

“He called me the next day and said, ‘Tell me everything — everything that you went through from beginning to end and I’ll see how it applies.’ So I just tried to lend a helping hand.”

If Vogel hadn’t reached out first, Stevens would have.

“I thought that that was probably early on a guy that I would reach out to, just because he had an idea from a coaching standpoint of what it was like day to day,” Stevens said before the Celtics’ 104-88 win over the Magic. “It wasn’t just about what Paul could help Gordon with, with what he was going through with the injury, but also how we could best brainstorm to keep him as engaged as possible.

“You know, Frank’s been a guy that has been really good to me all the way through, and I’m appreciative of that. So I knew that when I called he’d have great ideas.”

One of the major ones involved keeping Hayward involved.

“Every way we can, holding a clipboard, talking about our game plan each night,” said Vogel of the experience with George, “talking about how we’re using the current roster, what guys were doing what — treat him like a coach, so to speak. And try to keep a ball in his hands, too. If he was sitting in a chair, throw a ball at him and let him dribble it a little bit, let him shoot in a chair.”

In turn, as detailed in the Herald two days ago, George has let Hayward know there would be rough patches on the road back.

Vogel delivered that message to George, recalling yesterday that he said, “You know there’s going to be days that felt like this, and you knew that coming in. Don’t change your attitude, don’t change your path. There’s going to be days when you don’t want to do your work or you don’t believe that you’re ever going to really get back, and you just have to sustain the belief that you are going to get back.

“And ‘full recovery,’ I tried to say those two words to Paul every chance I got. I wanted to make sure he understood and that he was constantly reminded that that was the expectation.”

As much as Stevens likes being able to count on Vogel, the feeling is clearly mutual.

“I feel really lucky,” said Vogel, “because he’s one of the best coaches in the world, and to have somebody I can just pick up the phone and talk basketball a little bit or talk life or talk coaching and all that stuff, it’s a blessing for me. I feel very lucky.”

Good start

Marcus Morris got the start for the Celts and had 12 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. It was just his second game of the season after dealing with knee soreness, and it will be his last until the C’s host the Lakers on Wednesday.

While Morris said he may try to talk his way into the rotation tonight in Atlanta, Stevens has already ruled him out, saying Morris will not be playing in back-to-back games just yet.

As for why Morris started here?

“They’re the No. 1 3-point shooting team in the league, so I think being able to defend the 3-point line’s going to be important obviously,” Stevens said. “Marcus is part of a switching group that he’ll switch with different guys and be able to guard different spots. So it’s a good opportunity for us to do that here early.”

The Celts held the Magic to just 6-for-29 on 3-pointers.

Triple threat

Speaking of treys, Al Horford hit three more in as many attempts, making him 7-for-7 the last two games.

“He’s a game-changer,” said Vogel. “As much as you want to game-plan for Kyrie [Irving] and you have to game-plan for Kyrie and their wings and everybody else, [Horford] just causes so many problems for you. If he’s at the 4, it’s one coverage; if he’s at the 5, it’s another coverage. He just gives them space.

“It’s a simple plan. If you give space to an elite offensive player like Kyrie Irving, they get better. He’s a tough cover.”

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