Although the Boston Celtics start their fight against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, they are still recovering from the previous round after only one day off. Their streak against the Milwaukee Bucks went the distance before the Celtics took up business in Game 7.
The Celtics had 22 three-pointers in that game. set the record for most three-pointers ever made in a Game 7 in NBA history. While Grant Williams was the story of the night, hitting seven of his 18 threes, Payton Pritchard also played well.
In the May 16 edition of ESPN First take, Stephen A. Smith, Molly Qerim, JJ Redick and Patrick Beverley discussed Milwaukee’s defensive mishaps that led to Boston’s scorching shooting night. However, the conversation quickly became disrespectful as Beverley couldn’t pronounce Pritchard’s name properly.
“They even put two on the ball with Peetrick,” Beverley began. “If you see some of the highlights, they literally put two on the ball with the Peetrick guy.”
Smith and Redick were quick to correct Beverley, but the Minnesota Timberwolves point guard went on, saying, “I don’t care how you say his name. Peetrick, Preethard, Richard. I do not care.”
Despite Beverley butchering Pritchard’s name, the young point guard managed to put on a great performance in Game 7.
With its back against the wall in Game 7, Boston got big plays from two of its young roleplayers. William’s impressive night was well documented as he made history with his shot counts, but Pritchard’s game was grossly underestimated.
The Oregon product only played 17:01 that night but managed to lose a crucial 14 points from the bench. He shot 5-for-7 from field and 4-for-6 from three-point range, inclusive a nasty step back three over Bucks guard Jrue Holiday.
His 14 points marked a playoff high for Pritchard, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Derrick White shot just 1:10 off the field in Game 7, so Pritchard’s offensive performance gave Boston a massive boost.
However, Pritchard has since surpassed his playoff high and set a new high in Boston’s Game 1 loss to the Heat. Unfortunately, he wasn’t nearly as efficient against Miami as he was in Game 7 against the Bucks.
Boston’s starting point guard, Marcus Smart, missed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, so White got the start instead. In return, Pritchard received the bulk of the watch minutes from the bench. He played 30-23 in Game 1 against the Heat.
In those minutes, Pritchard managed to score 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting from field and 4-of-11 shooting from three-point range. His 16 shot attempts marked the third-highest total on the team. The only two players who fired more shots were Jayson Tatum (21) and Jaylen Brown (17).
He also had the third-highest score on the team at 18, a number equaled by big man Robert Williams. Tatum (29) and Brown (24) led the team in scoring.
However, Pritchard’s high shot volume didn’t result in a win for Boston as they collapsed in the third quarter. Pritchard and the Celtics have a chance to right their mistakes in Game 2 on Thursday, which begins at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.