Why Payton Pritchard isn't too small for the Celtics' big moments

It was one of the funniest moments of the NBA playoffs. In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston Celtics reserve guard Payton...

It was one of the funniest moments of the NBA playoffs.

In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston Celtics reserve guard Payton Pritchard drove into the paint against Miami Heat’s Tyler Herro and take a little jump. Pritchard then put a hand close to the ground, a common NBA taunt to signify that a defender is too small to guard the taunter.

Pritchard is just over six feet tall and is, in almost every situation in the NBA, the shortest player on the court. Herro is four inches taller than him.

“The game is competitive, so, I mean there will always be a bit of bickering here and there.“, Pritchard remained impassive in a recent interview.

Usually Pritchard is the recipient of these jeers.

“If you give it, you also have to take it,” he said.

Pritchard, a sophomore guard, was often considered too small, so much so that at the University of Oregon he was sometimes mistaken for the team leader.

“I go out there and hoop regardless. It doesn’t matter to me,” Pritchard said. “They will know my name after the game.”

They certainly do now. Pritchard, 24, had his moments as a scorer off the bench during the playoffs. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals against Golden State on Thursday, Pritchard helped spur Boston’s fourth quarter comeback with 5 points and 4 rebounds in eight minutes. During those eight minutes, the Celtics beat Golden State by 18 points.

His best playoff success was against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Pritchard hit double figures scoring in three of the first four games. In Game 4, Pritchard scored 14 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, extinguishing any hopes of a Heat comeback.

Boston coach Ime Udoka has used him sporadically, in part because Pritchard’s size makes him an easy target on defense. In the Celtics’ final three games against the Heat, Pritchard has played just 12 minutes combined and hasn’t scored.

He also struggled against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but in Game 7, he had 14 points and then delivered another viral moment. In the fourth quarter, Pritchard hit a 3-pointer that put the Celtics up 20. Pritchard turned to the Boston bench and yelled, “That’s what I do!”

Celtics assistant coach Damon Stoudamire knows what it’s like to be the smallest player on the field. His nickname during a 13 year NBA career was Mighty Mouse because he was under six feet tall.

“These kind of moments that you capture on camera, nobody really thinks about,” he said of Pritchard’s 3-pointer against the Bucks. “But man, it’s built a lot,” he said.

He added: “It’s just that he’s showing emotion there at the moment because he finally got his chance. I mean, people forget: he really didn’t play the first one. half of the season.

The Celtics selected Pritchard, a native of West Linn, Oregon, with the 26th pick of the 2020 draft after his four-year college career at Oregon, where he was a first team All-American and helped the program qualify for the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.

Incidentally, Pritchard was one of the best guards to come out of Oregon since Stoudamire, a Portland native Pritchard has known since childhood. Like Stoudamire, Pritchard was known for his goalscoring prowess, shooting ability and supreme confidence.

“When I got into the NBA, I was the most ready in the NBA at the time to come in and play right away.“, said Prichard.

He had a good rookie year, despite having to play behind more established guards like Marcus Smart, Jeff Teague and Kemba Walker. In 66 games, Pritchard averaged 7.7 points per game and shot 41.1 percent on 3 in 19.2 minutes per game.

But this season has been eventful. In the first half, Pritchard was again buried on the depth chart. When he was playing, he couldn’t land shots. He has appeared in 71 of 82 games this season. In the first 49, Pritchard shot just 37.8% from the field and played just 12.3 minutes per game, down from his rookie year.

Some nights he didn’t play at all. He said it was “very frustrating”.

Stoudamire described it as “mentally taxing” for Pritchard.

“All his life he was the focal point for most teams,” Stoudamire said. “Now he can’t even leave the bench. He doesn’t really know why. As staff we tried to do our best to talk to him. Like I told him, it really has nothing to do with you. These are really just numbers.

This led to difficult conversations between Udoka, also a native of oregon, and Prichard. The two also had a relationship dating back to Pritchard’s youth.

I asked him at one point if he saw me playing here. Am I good enough to play? said Prichard. “I believed in myself. I was still pretty good. But is this the right solution? He just reassured me, and the trade deadline has arrived. And then the opportunity presented itself. »

Among a flurry of moves at the deadline, the Celtics traded two veteran guards who had played in front of Pritchard РDennis Schr̦der and Josh Richardson Рand brought back guard Derrick White from the San Antonio Spurs. Suddenly things started to click for Pritchard.

After the All-Star break, he had the best streak of his career, averaging 9.6 points per game on 50.3% shooting in 22 games. He was one of the best 3-point shooters in the league during that span at 47.3%. He played well enough that in the playoffs Udoka sometimes trusted him to play crucial minutes in close games, including against a talented Nets team in the first round and now against Golden State in the Finals.

If Pritchard is to succeed in the long term, he will have to find a way to overcome his defensive struggles. Particularly in the Bucks series, Pritchard sometimes found himself in a one-on-one situation with the 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo. Improbably, Pritchard sometimes held his own. But for now, Pritchard’s shot is what keeps him grounded. The vast majority of his shots are 3s. In 19 playoff games, he’s shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from 3.

Throughout these playoffs, his big games have always been games where we walked away because of his momentum,” Stoudamire said.

His emergence – or re-emergence as a sniper – comes as no surprise to Pritchard. As he might say: that is, after all, what he does.

Source Link



Africa,963,Americas,4387,Art & Culture,16235,Arts,6825,Arts & Design,1930,Asia,3613,Automobile,579,Baseball,850,Basketball,693,Books,4242,Business,5727,Celebrity,2633,Cricket,648,Crime,158,Cryptocurrency,2199,Dance,725,Defense,836,Diplomatic Relations,2496,Economy,1410,Editorial,260,Education,1525,Elections,308,Energy & Environment,3204,Entertainment,23738,Environment,3988,Europe,4578,Faith & Religion,234,Family & Life,817,Fashion & Style,3689,Finance,22007,Food & Drink,4166,Football,1318,Games,97,Gossip,10288,Health & Fitness,4515,Health Care,975,Hockey,286,Home & Garden,919,Humour,994,Latin America,49,Lifestyle,18651,Media,527,Middle East,1766,Movies,2061,Music,2997,Opinion,4128,Other,13267,Other Sports,5505,Political News,11323,Political Protests,2324,Politics,18905,Real Estate,2331,Relationship,106,Retail,3116,Science,2994,Science & Tech,11263,Soccer,389,Space & Cosmos,464,Sports,13681,Technology,3817,Tennis,747,Theater,1983,Transportation,313,Travel,2869,TV,4040,US,1595,US Sports,1481,Video News,3531,War & Conflict,1069,Weird News,996,World,18304,
Newsrust - US Top News: Why Payton Pritchard isn't too small for the Celtics' big moments
Why Payton Pritchard isn't too small for the Celtics' big moments
Newsrust - US Top News
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content