Come to mock Hayward, stay to cheer Ingles and Crowder

Come to mock Hayward, stay to cheer Ingles and Crowder

SALT LAKE CITY – His former teammates in Utah Jazz really had no interest in the succulent story of the return of Gordon Hayward, the former face of the franchise that has hired a free agency for greener pastures in Boston.

"You're all bringing your stories out now," Joe Ingles said dismissively after starring in Friday's 123-115 win over the Boston Celtics. Hopefully, we can go on living and at the end of the day it was Boston against jazz, it had nothing to do with a person or whatever. "

Say the Jae Crowder.

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Crowder did his best to join the line and brought clichés such as "We had to focus on ourselves" and the media horde around his locker. That was true, but this was definitely not just another game for the former Celtic, who was deeply offended by Boston fans when he sang the name Haywards when the Jazz TD Garden visited months before the All-Star hit the reached free agency market. And Crowder likes to admit that he's always going to hold a grudge against the Celtics because he put it in the package they sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving.

Yes, it was especially sweet for Crowder to punch the Dagger 3 out of the corner 28 seconds before the end – just in case you can not see Crowder staring at the Celtics bench as he jumped down the opposite sideline.

"It feels good," Crowder said with a big smile to ESPN. "I'll enjoy it tonight Really wanted to win this game. I really wanted to win the game. No matter if I played good or bad, I just wanted to win the game. Obviously I could play well. It means a lot to me to achieve this victory. We see these guys in about a week and I want to achieve that as well. "

Former Celtic Jae Crowder hit two big three-pointers in the fourth quarter to help jazz fight off Boston's comeback. Melissa Majchrzak / NBAE on Getty Images

It's kind of fitting that Ingles and Crowder, two guys who are always tied to Hayward in very different ways, have played such an important role in this win.

Ingles was, as you've surely heard, Hayward's best buddy in jazz. Their friendship and the fact that they are both represented by Agent Mark Bartelstein attracted a lot of attention after the Jazz Ingles made a four-year, $ 52 million deal ahead of Hayward's decision a few summers ago.

Wanted jazz on board before meeting Hayward Ingles? For sure. But the The suggestion that Ingles was paid for his relationship with Hayward was always ridiculous.

Of course, there is not much criticism of this contract these days. Not after Ingles, who became a full-time starter after Hayward's departure for the first time, played a vital role in helping Utah return to the second round of the playoffs last season. His performance in beating the Celtics – a career that scores 27 points on 10 of 14 shots with 5 rebounds and 7 assists – reminds the basketball world of its value.

"Honestly, I really do not care," Ingles said to ESPN. "I got that [contract] Anyway, so they can say anything they want. I do not think so much about it. It's the same story as it was when I came here. I came to the mentor [fellow Australian Dante Exum], I was signed to try and keep Gordon was the second. I really do not care.

"I know the organization, the Millers, [general manager Dennis Lindsey], Coaches and my teammates appreciate what I do and what I bring to the team. That's all that really interests me. "

Donovan Mitchell and the rest of the jazz were grateful for Joe Ingles's career with 27 points. Melissa Majchrzak / NBAE on Getty Images

Jazz also has a great appreciation for what Crowder brings to the team. He was an important part of Jazz's noteworthy turnaround last season after coming to a trade deadline deal from the Cavaliers. He offered the versatility to push the miniballs forward in Utah's favorite late team and his fierce tenacity.

"He has a heartbeat that you can feel," said jazz coach Quin Snyder, who joined Crowder after winning a bear hug.

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12:23

Ricky Rubio makes a perfect fake and then kicks Jae Crowder down a 3-pointer.

For the record, Crowder is very grateful that, unlike his feelings for Boston, he was traded out of Cleveland. And he's proud enough to firmly believe that Boston made a mistake when he moved him.

"You know," Crowder said when asked if he wanted to prove this point on Friday when he had 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists from the bench, including eight points in the last five minutes. "Leave it as it is."

With all due respect Boston has everything but to believe, considering Irving's excellence. But that kind of logic does not stand in the way of Crowder's competitive fire.

"He loves this kind of games," he said Donovan Mitchell, the young star who filled Hayward's shoes as a jazz accompanist. "That's the kind of competitor he is."

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12:17

Donovan Mitchell drives past Gordon Hayward to get a floater, and the jazz fans love it.

Ingles is another competitor, a calming influence on jazz. He is also a poster child for Utah's player development program. In October 2014, he arrived as a scrap-heap pickup who had never played in the NBA, and became an outstanding part of a playoff team. He's become a top-notch 3-point shooter and a skilled pick-and-roll playmaker. Skills he often showed on Friday night at the expense of his friend Hayward, much to the delight of the hooligans.

"It was not specific, like," Let's aim for him, "said Ingles, as he put Hayward in his first half of 20 points with four assistants after the pick-and-roll." We found some things early, too which we returned again and again. "

The jazz, a franchise many had expected to return to irrelevance after Hayward's departure, found the formula a factor in the West. Ingles and Crowder are essential elements that enable Utah to go on with life and maintain the same ambitious ambitions.

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