The Boston Celtics took care of business on the road, getting a 114-103 win over the struggling Utah Jazz, despite being short-handed. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart admitted this non-conference win was for teammate Gordon Hayward, who was met with loud boos from the home crowd despite having left Utah more than two years ago.
Tatum (33) and Smart (17) combined for 50 points to make up for Hayward’s poor shooting night (12 points on 4-of-12 shooting) — helping him walk away with some bragging rights.
“I’m happy we got this win for G,” said Tatum, according to Jay King of The Athletic.
“They can’t say nothing,” said Smart, noting the series of boos Hayward received throughout the game, according to Tom Westerholm of MassLive.
Hayward has been scuffing in the past three games for the Celtics, despite having ample room to play a bigger role in the offense with Kemba Walker off the floor. He’s scored 10, 12, and 12 in his last three games and shot a measly 14-of-34 (41.1%) in those three outings since putting up three straight 20-plus-point games.
It seems Utah still heavily resents Hayward for leaving, even if he took that decision back in the summer of 2017 — nearly three years ago.
Jazz fans have been known to be rowdy and hostile to those who come to Vivint Smart Home Arena, yet it’s likely they packed a little extra for Hayward, who spent his first seven years with the organization.
The Butler product had become an All-Star in his last season in Salt Lake City before a murky free-agent process that eventually led him to wear green the past few seasons.