The NBA Celtics bury the Kings with a 35-4 run, and Jaylen Brown believes Payton Pritchard is’mastering’ the microwave role. When Pritchard and Luke Kornet came late in the third quarter, the game changed.
The Boston Celtics trailed the Sacramento Kings 84-78 with 3:12 left in the third quarter on Friday. They lead the Kings 113-88 at the 5:04 mark of the fourth quarter. If you do the math, that’s a 35-4 run in less than 10 minutes.
That is a basketball avalanche, ladies and gentlemen.
Jayson Tatum, who ended with 30 points and is the early MVP favorite of NBA Celtics, complimented Payton Pritchard and Luke Kornet for shifting the vibe of a game that was, in many ways, not going Boston’s way. They were annoyed by the calls they were receiving. The Kings, who entered the game as the only team in the league with a higher offensive rating than the Celtics, outscored them by 40 points in the second quarter, the most Boston has allowed in a single quarter this season.
Things changed, however, when Pritchard and Kornet, neither of whom is a regular starter, joined the game for the first time at the 3:12 mark of the third quarter. Pritchard finished with a pair of 3s. Kornet stopped two shots. However, it was the unmistakable energy boost they provided the Celtics that was reflected in their combined plus-41 point difference.
“I give Luke and Payton a lot of credit for checking in,” Tatum added. “They didn’t play in the first half because they never know when they’re going to play. True pros of NBA Celtics, on the other hand, are always prepared, and they provided us with the crucial energy boost. Those players came in and shifted the game’s momentum.”
Boston fans, in especially, adore Pritchard. He may become hot quickly. He may spend a week or two without playing much, but then he’ll affect a game like he did on Friday. Pritchard nailed four 3-pointers in 24 minutes against the Hawks last Wednesday, then didn’t score a single point in seven combined minutes over the following two games until Friday night, when the two 3s he hit seemed a lot more valuable.
“It’s incredibly difficult to come off the bench and be a microwave [scorer] like that,” Pritchard’s teammate Jaylen Brown remarked. “I believe that’s one of the most difficult things to accomplish in this league, but Payton appears to be doing it.”
The NBA Celtics hold the best record in the league (15-4) and have won 11 of their last 12 games. They have outscored their opponents by 120 points in that time. To emphasize the obvious, this squad is no laughing matter. They have the league’s best offense, and although their defense isn’t as flashy on the stat sheet right now, this is still likely the most imposing defensive team in the game at full strength, which they won’t have until Robert Williams returns.