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Jazz notes: Brad Stevens 'proud' of Butler's NBA reunion

BOSTON — For a while, it looked like Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack were going to play key roles in a fun win over their old college coach, Brad Stevens.

Mack ended up scoring 18 points — the third time he’s established a new season-high in scoring since being traded to Utah 12 days ago — and Hayward contributed 16 points, six rebounds and four rebounds.

In the end, though, the Jazz fell apart and Stevens’ Celtics escaped with a 100-95 victory.

It wasn’t the result Utah’s Butler buddies hoped for, of course, but it did mark the first time since their college days that the three — and Boston assistant Micah Shrewsberry — were involved in an official game together at the same time since the Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker to Duke in the NCAA championship game in 2010.

It was a meaningful moment for Stevens.

“I saw those guys grow up. They made my day when they committed to Butler — at different times but in the same class,” Stevens said in his pregame comments. “Nobody could be more proud of those two than me, especially watching them now play together. Starting together is pretty cool.”

When asked about coaching against his former players, Stevens summed it up like this: “It stinks.”

Of course, he’s thrilled they’re all in the NBA now. He just liked it better when they were all on the same side.

“I love being out there. I love competing against them,” Stevens said. “If I was coaching the blue team in practice (at Butler) and they were on the white team a few years ago, I’d try to do the very best I could to not let them have a good day. But they’re really good.”

Stevens credited Mack, a guy he said was “one of the bigger gym rats that we had over that time,” for his quick integration into the Jazz’s lineup.

“Shelvin’s started off great for Utah,” Stevens said. “We thought he would. You’ve seen many times it’s about opportunity and fit as much as anything else in this league.”

Stevens has faced Hayward twice a year for the past few years, and he’s enjoyed seeing the continued growth in the former Butler star’s game.

“Gordon has established himself as one of the better young players in the league,” Stevens said. “That’s been a great growth process for me to watch. When he committed to Butler, he was a tennis player who played basketball. He was growing into his body and wasn’t near what he is now.”

FILLING IN FOR BOOKER: Trevor Booker had an excused absence from Monday’s game so he could attend his grandmother’s funeral in South Carolina. The backup power forward will rejoin the Jazz in Toronto before their game Wednesday night.

Rookie Trey Lyles, like he did when Derrick Favors was injured in December and January, seized the opportunity to play extra minutes.

Lyles finished with his first NBA double-double, scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds in a very active and helpful outing.

“I was just being aggressive,” the former Kentucky player said. “When shots were presented, I stepped in and took them.”

Lyles’ mindset while he was relegated to a rarely used role after the resurgence of Favors and Gobert? “Continue to stay in the gym, continue to have confidence in myself and just be ready when the time presents itself.”

SLAMMING HIS COACH?: While compliments are aplenty and fun trash-talking is rare between the players and their respected coach, Mack did jokingly poke fun at Stevens. He laughed when asked about a viral video that showed the Celtics coach dunking off of a trampoline.

“I saw his dunk. It was pretty funny,” Mack said. “I think he was kind of scared he was up that high.”

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