Utah Jazz fans are still salty over Gordon Hayward's 2017 departure.
And Hayward's Boston Celtics teammates aren't above rubbing salt in their wounds.
Jazz fans heartily booed Hayward on Wednesday night in his second trip back to Vivint Smart Home Arena since leaving Utah to sign with the Celtics in 2017.
But Boston got the last laugh in a 114-103 victory, and after the game, several C's players said those boos motivated them to win on Hayward's behalf.
"It was huge. Gordon has worked his tail off,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart told reporters, as aired on NBC Sports Boston. “It always feels good to come back where you started and to hear that crowd booing and to come out and win."
"They can't say anything."
Added Jayson Tatum, who led all scorers with 33 points, "I’m happy we got this win for G."
Celtics big man Enes Kanter, who was drafted by the Jazz and spent three-plus seasons as Hayward's teammate from 2011 to 2015, had a bit more to say for Utah fans heckling his teammate.
"One thing about Gordon, before he’s a good basketball player, he’s a really good teammate," Kanter said. "So it’s just a little silly that he gets all the boos still. I don’t think it’s hate anymore. It’s just, they’re just enjoying it."
Hayward was the Jazz's franchise player before signing a maximum contract with Boston, so he'll likely still hear boos every time he returns to Utah.
The 29-year-old had a relatively quiet homecoming --12 points on 4-of-12 shooting -- and didn't speak to reporters after the game, but his Celtics teammates did the talking for him, both on and off the court.
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