Boston Celtics’ Gordon Hayward watches from in the back of the bench all the way through the primary quarter of an NBA basketball sport in opposition to the Golden State Warriors in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
SALT LAKE CITY — Countless textual content messages and social media mentions flooded Gordon Hayward’s telephone notifications following his first authentic sport with the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, Oct. 17.
One of them used to be from his former Utah Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert.
After gazing Hayward endure a ugly left ankle harm in opposition to the Cleveland Cavaliers all the way through the 2017-18 season opener, Gobert had to succeed in out.
“I think it was important to do that,” Gobert recalled. “We don’t talk a lot but when it’s important we do.”
Communication is now few and some distance between with Hayward and his ex-Jazz teammates. Although he performed seven seasons in Utah, his unfastened agent departure on Independence Day of 2017 via a The Players’ Tribune letter left lovers heartbroken.
Hayward is anticipated to make his much-anticipated return to Vivint Arena in Celtic inexperienced and white on Friday, when Utah hosts Boston at 7:30 p.m. However, this is barring any unexpected well being considerations following the second one evening of a back-to-back in Phoenix with the Celtics scientific group of workers intently tracking him.
“People do what they want,” Gobert defined. “I hope he’s happy. We’re happy here and we’re just going to play basketball.”
Derrick Favors additionally mentioned he texted Hayward after the educational the news of his decision to leave Utah for Boston on Independence Day of 2017, however they haven’t spoken since.
“That was it,” Favors mentioned.
While many are expecting boos from the lovers in his first sport again after spending seven seasons in Utah, Jazz players try to keep even-keeled regardless of the nationwide buzz — a minimum of with the media.
“I don’t know. It could be empty. I don’t know. You gotta see,” Favors predicted, sooner than guffawing. “It’s going to be just like any other game. The fans come out, they support in sold out games so it’s just going to be another game for us.”
Celtics All-Star guard Kyrie Irving is anticipated to leave out the Jazz sport to attend his past due grandfather’s memorial provider.
Utah snapped a four-game shedding streak with Wednesday’s 117-102 victory in opposition to the Dallas Mavericks, in the back of Donovan Mitchell’s 23 issues, seven assists and 5 rebounds after coming back from lacking the former contest with a left ankle sprain. The Jazz capitalized off Dallas’ 25 turnovers with 31 issues whilst main by way of as many as 26 at the evening.
“It was huge. After losing four straight, you kind of need that confidence going into Friday,” Mitchell mentioned. “Obviously, it’s going to be a grind on Friday and we’re fully aware of that but we know we can do it. That’s the difference, we always know we can do it and we went out there and did it and we’ve got to continue to do it and not just be satisfied that we did it today, we’ve got to be able to do it Friday and on the road.”
The luck of Mitchell has been a part of the therapeutic procedure for Jazz lovers post-Hayward as he led Utah again to the Western Conference Semifinals all the way through his rookie season. Before heading to Boston, Hayward used to be coming off his best professional season but, additionally main Utah to the second one spherical of the playoffs in 2016-17, the place he averaged a career-high 21.nine issues and five.four assists whilst turning into an All-Star.
On the one-year anniversary Hayward’s announcement to take off, Mitchell determined to randomly visit some local BBQs close to Salt Lake City this previous Fourth of July and has been extraordinarily lively locally.
Mitchell wasn’t round all the way through the Hayward technology, so there’s no arduous emotions on his finish and he isn’t coming into this Jazz-Celtics contest with any preconceptions as opposed to aggressive basketball.
“I don’t know what to expect to be honest,” Mitchell mentioned of Hayward’s return. “Obviously, he did such a lot for this group, for this state. He’s an excellent participant.
“I think there was a rivalry between Boston before that anyway and I kind of felt that so this just adds to it but we’re going to go out there and treat it the same way,” Mitchell persisted. “We’re not going to go out there and do something crazy. We’re going to stay with what we’ve been doing, build off tonight’s win and be locked in and focused.”
With that crew mindset, Hayward no doubt shouldn’t expect a textual content message from Gobert sooner than this matchup. It’s essential, however now not that essential.
“Gordon, he’s a good guy. It is what it is,” Gobert mentioned. “Sometimes you make choices that you think are good for you and we’re not here to judge anyone. It’s just a game. We’re just going to go play basketball and that’s it.”