SALT LAKE CITY – His former team-mates on Utah Jazz had no interest in the juicy plot of the return of Gordon Hayward, the former face of the franchise who was fired at a free agency for more pastures Boston greens.
"You guys will pick up your stories now," Joe Ingles said hurriedly after playing the 123-115 Jazz victory on the Boston Celtics on Friday. "We hope to get on with life, at the end of the day it was Boston vs Jazz, it had nothing to do with a person or whatever it was."
Try to tell Jae Crowder.
Celtics striker Gordon Hayward concluded with 13 points on Friday night, playing in Utah for the first time since he left the free seat. Hayward was whistled loudly by Jazz fans who had previously acclaimed his every move.
If Gordon Hayward expects regret and desire when he returns to Utah on Friday, he will be disappointed. The Jazz are gaga on Donovan Mitchell now.
A season away from leaving the Jazz, Gordon Hayward makes his long-awaited return to Utah in a very different place than when he joined the Celtics.
Crowder did his best to set up the company line, triggering clichés like "We had to focus on ourselves," the media horde surrounding his locker. It was all true, but this was definitely not another game for the former Celtic who was deeply offended by Boston fans who sang the Hayward name when Jazz visited TD Garden months before the All-Star hit the free market. And Crowder readily admits he will always hold a grudge against the Celtics for putting it in the package they sent to Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving.
So, yes, it was particularly sweet for Crowder to hit that dagger 3 from the corner with 28 seconds remaining – in case you could not know it from Crowder who was staring at the Celtics bench as he jumped along the opposite sideline.
"It feels good," Crowder told ESPN with a big smile. "I'll like it tonight really he wanted to win this game. I really wanted to win the game. It does not matter if I played well or badly, I just wanted to win the game. Obviously, I was able to play well. It means a lot to me to get this victory. We see these guys in about a week, and I want to get that victory too. "