Joe Mazzulla showcased a great deal of faith in a Celtics rotation player Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

Payton Pritchard played the entire fourth quarter in Boston’s 127-123 loss to the Thunder at Paycom Center. The decision was especially noteworthy across the final eight-plus minutes of the frame, which saw Pritchard on the floor with the Celtics’ standard closing group while Jrue Holiday sat on the bench.

After Boston’s first loss since Dec. 19, Mazzulla explained the decision to stick with Pritchard at the most important juncture of the contest.

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“Good ball pressure, good physicality,” Mazzulla told reporters, per a video shared by CLNS. “He brought a level of physicality to the game defensively and spacing on offense. I thought his presence helped us get back in the game.”

Pritchard didn’t score in the final stanza, but the backup guard deserves credit for helping the Celtics trim an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit all the way down to two with 41 seconds left. Boston wasn’t able to complete a comeback, but the amount of fight on the road against a young and hungry team was nonetheless encouraging.

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The C’s will try to get back in the win column Friday night when they host the Utah Jazz.

Featured image via Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports Images