SALT LAKE CITY – Boston Celtic's wing Gordon Hayward knew that this night came. Eventually he would have to return…
SALT LAKE CITY – Boston Celtic’s wing Gordon Hayward knew that this night came.
Eventually he would have to return to Salt Lake City – the city he spent the first seven years of his career. Eventually he would have to face the boos of the fan base that he left for Celtics.
The reunification is a year later than expected, but no less acrimonial. Utah Jazz fans promised him every time he touched the ball in the layup lines. The fans shouted at him before the match.
Brad Stevens said before the game knows how emotionally this will be for Hayward.
“Of course, he spent seven great years here, and that meant a lot to him and his family,” said Stevens. “I’m sure there are feelings that go into it for him. The best we can focus on what you can control and go from there. It would not be human to not recognize there are extra emotions attached to this.”
Hayward was part of Boston’s semi-miraculous comeback against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. Friday’s game will be a back-to-back.
“This was part of it,” said Stevens. “This is the litmus test ̵
1; the second night of back-to-back at the same level he has played. Will be about the same in the 23 to 26 minute interval.”
Still Stevens expects Hayward to succeed.
“We have all lived homecomings of different kinds, and everyone handles them as they handle them,” said Stevens. “As time passes, it can be easier and easier, but the first time is always unique. He will handle it well.”
Other Games Before Notes:
– Former Celtics Wing Jae Crowder said the reporters are still in touch with Isaiah Thomas. He said that Thomas is working against a return.
“He does not let it be the best of him,” said Crowder. “Of course, it is mentally that it can be a fight for him, the times I talk to him, he says everything is going well, everything is going to be going well, he’ll be back soon. I’m happy for him. We still have a good relationship. “
Stevens praised Crowd’s impact on Celtics during his time in Boston.
“Yes, along with many teammates, did an incredible job, and he still has this,” said Stevens. “From what I look far from his best start of the season, he seems very comfortable, he has a good system, he fits exactly what Quin wants to do. He can play the ball, play as a stretch four, play a speech. Our wish as One team was getting versatile, and at that time Jae was our most versatile. There’s a reason that his game looks so good and translates so well in this extended NBA. “
– Terry Rozier begins instead of Kyrie Irving.