SALT LAKE CITY – During the Utah Summer League slate of games, it’s no surprise that the most vocal games are the ones involving the hometown Utah Jazz.
But this franchise’s Fandom for tonight's Celtics-Jazz game might be ratcheted up just a bit more than usual after the Boston wooed Gordon Hayward to agree to take his talents to Boston after having spent the past seven seasons with the Jazz.
Regardless of the Hayward situation, the Jazz have had a vocal fan base for years, summer league and otherwise.
“In Salt Lake City, I think the Jazz fans travel well,” said Celtics assistant Jerome Allen who is coaching Boston’s summer league squad. “In previous years, they tend to get a good crowd for their games. It’s one of the reasons why the league likes having summer league here.”
The Celtics will sit Jaylen Brown (coaches decision) for tonight’s game, which means an increased focus will be paid to Jayson Tatum.
Tatum, selected by the Celtics with the third overall pick in last month’s NBA draft out of Duke, is no stranger to playing in front of hostile crowds.
Being one of the top prep players, competing in tournaments all over the country prior to playing one season for the Duke Blue Devils, it comes with the territory.
But the 19-year-old Tatum is wise enough to know that in order to succeed in what will truly feel like a road game tonight, involves sticking with the plan – regardless of how loud the white noise from the stands may get.
“Just focus on basketball,” said Tatum who is coming off a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds against San Antonio on Wednesday. "The fans are great, sometimes. When you’re on the road, they’re not great. At the end of the day, it's basketball; just focus on yourself and the team and the task at hand of winning the game. It’s not easy. It’s something you have to learn as you get older.”