For one of the most storied franchises in the NBA, it’s difficult to believe that two Celtics teammates had never both scored six or more 3-pointers in one single game before. But that was the case prior to Thursday’s 120-106 blowout win over the Raptors before history was made by Ojeleye (6-of-8) and Pritchard (6-of-8); who combined for 12-of-16 from deep.
Want another eye-popping stat? Having made five 3-pointers against Toronto, Kemba Walker was one three shy of making it three Celtics teammates with, at least, six made 3-pointers, Thursday.
Boston’s shooting against Toronto was absurd.
Payton Pritchard On Setting New Celtics Shooting Record: ‘That’s Crazy’
Ojeleye’s career-high 24 points led four of five starters in double figures. Walker finished with 21 points and five rebounds, and Pritchard netted 20, off the bench.
His eyes also widened when he was informed of the historic significance behind his and Semi’s wild night.
“That’s crazy,” Pritchard said, after the game, with a smile painted across his face. “I’m happy for my guy Semi; he was strapping tonight. He’s a shooter so I think he should just keep on shooting. Find ways to space the floor and get that shot off because it’s money.”
Seeing a significant uptick in playing time, Ojeleye’s shooting numbers jumped, as well, as increasing opportunities for a career night came to a head against the Raptors.
“I really try to focus on the process of shooting and not necessarily the result,” Ojeleye said after Thursday’s win. “If you get caught up in the makes and misses you can ride that up and down. I just try to focus on shooting it the right way. God takes care of the rest.”
Semi Ojeleye On Payton Pritchard: ‘P Works So Hard, I’m So Happy For Him’
When Ojeleye was informed that he and Pritchard had made franchise history against the Raptors, he showered the rookie with praise while explaining why it’s very-deserving for a rookie like Pritchard.
“P works so hard and I’m so happy for him because he deserves it,” Ojeleye said. “He’s one of those guys you see always working in the gym. By the time you walk in there, he’s in the full-sweat. So, I’m happy to see him do well.”
The Celtics shot 51.3% on 20-of-39 attempts from behind the arc.
“We have a lot of guys that understand the game and just want to work together,” Ojeleye added. “Defensively, you want to be always on a string and it takes a kind of synergy that you can’t always teach in practice. A guy gets beat; you have to rotate and you can’t always simulate that. So, credit to all the guys for always being aware; we try to help each other as much as we can.”
Payton Pritchard: ‘Have To Put An Emphasis On Defense’
Still, Toronto didn’t go away as quickly as most anticipated. Making it a two-possession game, 96-91, with 7:17 left to play, the Raptors hung around before the Celtics strung together defensive stops to keep them at bay.
It’s a facet of the game Pritchard says the Celtics need to do a better job in before facing the Detroit Pistons Friday night; the second leg of a back-to-back set at TD Garden.
“Moving forward we just have to put an emphasis on defense,” Pritchard said. “Play aggressive, play to our style, and then offensively, we have some elite players so just moving the ball some and finding the right areas to get open and give those guys space.”