JJ Redick Defends Payton Pritchard After Incident With Jimmy Butler

'This is a non-issue to me'


May 23, 2022

JJ Redick doesn’t believe Payton Pritchard “broke the code” Saturday night at TD Garden.

Pritchard was at the center of a Heat-Celtics Game 3 sequence that was largely overlooked. With just over six minutes remaining in the second quarter, Pritchard slipped as he was guarding Miami star Jimmy Butler. In hopes of preventing an easy bucket, the Boston guard fouled Butler by grabbing his knee.

Butler played the remainder of the second frame but was sidelined for the final two quarters of the Heat’s eventual win. While seemingly no one accused Pritchard of being responsible for Butler’s injury, Redick on Monday wanted to stress the insignificane of what went down between the two guards.

“The reason it didn’t get attention was because Erik Spoelstra didn’t come out after the game and accuse Payton Pritchard of a dirty play, because it wasn’t,” Redick said on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “This shouldn’t even be a thing. He fell down, he’s trying to foul Jimmy so that he doesn’t get downhill and make a play. And he (Butler) grabbed his quad, he didn’t even grab his knee. Look, Jimmy has been dealing with this injury for a while now and missed a game in Round 1 against the Hawks. This is a non-issue to me.”

Redick’s note about Spoelstra might have been an indirect jab at Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins, who blamed Warriors guard Jordan Poole for injuring Ja Morant in the Memphis-Golden State Western Conference semifinals series. Jenkins’ argument was pretty weak, but he might have simply been lashing out in wake of one of his players, Dillon Brooks, catching tons of heat for a very harsh foul on Gary Payton II.

The lack of scrutiny for Pritchard might be tied to Butler’s prognosis. Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes on Sunday reported the six-time All-Star intends to play in Monday night’s Game 4 at TD Garden.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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