Payton Pritchard's Top 5 Performances from the 2020-21 Season

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Payton Pritchard turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the Celtics this season, as the 26th overall pick from the 2020 NBA Draft turned in one of the most productive rookie campaigns in recent years for the franchise.

Now, let’s take a look back at some of the performances that made this past season so special for the sharpshooting point guard.

5. Feb. 11 vs. Toronto

Here's what happened...

Prior to this past season, no Celtics rookie had ever made more than four 3-pointers off the bench in a single game. On Feb. 11, Pritchard smashed that mark with a 6-for-8 effort from long range against the Toronto Raptors, which also placed him just one make shy of Marcus Smart’s rookie record regardless of role. Pritchard’s six makes from deep accounted for all 18 of his points from the field, and he added two more from the free-throw line to give him a nice round number of 20 in the scoring column. He also corralled five rebounds and dished out one assist during his 29 minutes of action, as he helped the Celtics pull away for a 120-114 win.

4. April 23 at Brooklyn

Here's what happened...

About that record that we just mentioned… it only took Pritchard two-and-a-half months to reach it again. On April 23, he produced a near-repeat effort against the Brooklyn Nets, only this time he tied his own mark at a slightly more efficient rate as he knocked down an impressive 6-of-7 from long distance in less than 24 minutes off the bench. Pritchard finished with 22 points, which was seven more than his All-League point guard counterpart Kyrie Irving ended up with. He also logged three rebounds, two assists, and a block, while not committing a single turnover. The Celtics wound up losing by five points despite Pritchard finishing with a team-best plus/minus rating of plus-5.

3. Jan. 6 at Miami

Here's what happened...

We know what you’re wondering: what is so significant about the above stat line that makes it deserving of a spot on this list? The answer to that question is simple: the significance has nothing to do with the box score. Although Jan. 6 wasn’t one of Pritchard’s best overall games from a numbers perspective, it was without a doubt his best performance from a clutch perspective, as he made a game-winning put-back to beat the final buzzer in a 107-105 win over the Miami Heat. Marcus Smart missed what could have been the game-winning layup with three seconds remaining, but his 6-foot-1 rookie backcourt mate saved the day by crashing the boards, catching the missed attempt, and laying it off the glass with 0.2 seconds left. For Pritchard, it was his career-high fourth offensive rebound of the game which allowed him to achieve the greatest clutch effort of professional career.

2. Jan. 4 at Toronto (Tampa Bay)

Here's what happened...

Two nights prior to his late-game heroics in Miami, Pritchard turned in his most outstanding offensive performance of the season just a few hours north in Tampa Bay. While facing off against the Raptors in their temporary home arena, Pritchard logged his first NBA 20-point game, as he finished with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field a perfect 5-of-5 clip from the free-throw line. He also dished out a career-high eight assists, which led to 20 more points for the C’s. In all, Pritchard helped to produce more than a third of Boston’s points, as he guided the C’s to a 126-114 road win in just the eighth game of his NBA career.

1. April 27 vs. Oklahoma City

Here's what happened...

Only once more did Pritchard surpass his 23-point effort against Toronto, and that occurred on April 27 when he tallied a career-best 28 points in the scoring column against the Oklahoma City Thunder. While shooting 9-of-16 from the field, 4-of-10 from 3-point range, and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line, Pritchard logged Boston’s highest rookie point total off the bench in 17 years, and he fell just three points shy of Rick Fox’s franchise record of 31. He also dished out four assists, grabbed three rebounds and snagged one steal during a career-high 33 minutes of action. The Celtics wound up losing, 119-115; however, Pritchard still logged a positive plus/minus rating and scored more points than any member of the winning squad.