December 5, 2023


Pritchard broke out of his current stoop within the Celtics’ win over the Nets, scoring 13 factors to finish a three-game scoreless skid.

Payton Pritchard broke out of his stoop Friday. Michael Dwyer/AP Photograph

Payton Pritchard’s had a tough begin to the season as he’s stepped into his new function because the Celtics’ high guard off the bench. Friday’s win in opposition to the Nets was a possible step in the fitting path.

The fourth-year guard scored 13 factors on 5-of-10 taking pictures with three assists, one steal, and 5 rebounds, with 4 of them approaching the offensive finish as he had a bench-high plus-nine within the 121-107 win. A type of rebounds got here off his personal free-throw miss, chasing the ball to get a straightforward putback, finishing a three-point possession for the Celtics to place them up by a dozen late within the third quarter.

Friday’s recreation marked the tip of a tough week of play for Pritchard, who didn’t rating a degree within the Celtics’ earlier three video games as he missed all 11 photographs he took throughout that stretch. Boston misplaced its first two video games of the season throughout that stretch as properly, inflicting some to level blame at Pritchard and the Celtics’ bench for his or her shortcomings over these video games.

Pritchard admitted following Friday’s recreation that whereas he’s tuned out the skin noise, he additionally appreciates the criticism he’s acquired of late.

“I haven’t been on social media and I haven’t been trying. So, I figured individuals are like coming at me,” Pritchard instructed reporters. “But it surely’s a part of enjoying in Boston and that’s what I like about it. So I wouldn’t need to play wherever else. But when I’m enjoying unhealthy, I need to hear it. I’ll get it again.”

Whereas Pritchard embraced the criticism, he admitted that his enjoying “began messing with me mentally, slightly bit.” However then he remembered why the Celtics gave him a spot within the rotation and just lately signed him to a four-year extension.

“I went again to what made me shooter within the first place, then I began dialing again into that,” Pritchard mentioned. “It’s type of only a psychological recreation. It begins to have an effect on you, begin second-guessing photographs. However on the finish of the day, you set in an excessive amount of work, so I simply imagine in myself.

“Hold taking pictures,” Pritchard added on what the coaches instructed him. “What’d I miss, 11 in a row because the Indiana recreation? I’m not going to try this a lot. They usually know that. I’ve proven that in my profession with the Celtics I’m not going to try this a lot. So, they only imagine in me and hold going.”

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla additionally iterated his confidence in Pritchard following Friday’s win, crediting him for performs he made that may not have proven up on the stat sheet. Mazzulla performed Pritchard for all however 16 seconds of the ultimate 16 minutes within the first half because the Celtics’ lead went from 4 to 12 throughout the near-16 minute stretch that Pritchard was on the ground.

“He’s been making a big effect the entire yr,” Mazzulla instructed reporters. “To me, he modified the sport for us tonight. … And what we see is like, it’s simple to take a look at the scoring of the bench and be like we’re not producing, however there’s a lot different stuff that these guys do for us each day.”

Pritchard additionally appreciated the arrogance he acquired from his coach, who didn’t play him as a lot final season with Marcus Sensible, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon receiving nearly all of the minutes at level guard.

“Joe got here to me, and he was like, ‘You’re going to proceed to play,’” Pritchard mentioned. “It’s like, ‘You retain impacting profitable in different areas, and that’s all that issues.’”

Whereas Pritchard made 50 % of his photographs from the sector on Friday, he truly didn’t shoot too properly from behind the arc. He solely made two of his seven 3-pointers, however as he did Friday night time, he is aware of he will be greater than only a 3-point shooter.

That’s part of his message to those that doubt his function on the roster.

“Hold hating,” Pritchard mentioned. “That is simply making me higher. That is a part of the journey. These slumps, I believe finish of the day can pay dividends and can make me a greater participant general.

“Like I’m not hitting photographs, so these final couple of video games, I needed to discover different methods to impression it. So it’s making me an all-around participant and never only a shooter.”