The Celtics received a much-needed boost from a somewhat unlikely source Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Payton Pritchard was highly influential in Boston erasing a 17-point deficit and ultimately building a comfortable lead of its own. Pritchard saw a good chunk of high-pressure minutes in the second half and head coach Ime Udoka showed great trust in the second-year guard by allowing him to stay on the floor pretty deep into the fourth quarter.
The 26th pick in the 2020 draft finished with 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting over 16 minutes. Two of those points came in style with under 30 seconds to play when the 6-foot-1 Pritchard floated an off-the-glass bucket over 6-foot-10 Kevin Durant.
In a playoff series featuring four of the NBA’s best players, no one could have expected Pritchard to garner so much attention. So, as the 24-year-old put his stamp on the Celtics’ Game 2 win, NBA Twitter posted accordingly.
Pritchard probably isn’t going to make a high impact on a game-by-game basis as the Celtics’ playoff journey continues. But it must be comforting for Udoka to know the Oregon product most likely will do his job whenever his number is called.