Jaylen Brown Clowns Celtics Guard’s Defense

Jaylen Brown

Getty Jaylen Brown #7, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics had to face the Denver Nuggets without Malcolm Brogdon, who was out due to right hamstring tightness. Payton Pritchard filled in for the Celtics in Brogdon’s absence. In 16 minutes, Pritchard scored 11 points and corralled five rebounds (four offensive) while shooting five-for-six from the field.

After the game, Jaylen Brown praised Pritchard for his sneakiness on the offensive boards while also joking that Pritchard needs to get back on defense at the same time.

“He’s sneaky. He’s got that little Josue in him from Alvarado from the (New Orleans) Pelicans. He’s got a little sneak attack game, so it worked out for us for sure, but he needs to get his ass back on defense,” Brown said.

Brown also got serious when praising what Pritchard brings to the team despite his lack of playing opportunities.

“Payton’s my guy, man. I really respect him. His game, his work ethic, how hard he works, everything. He just comes in, and he’s ready. You see some guys not getting the opportunity, and their spirit is down. Payton has his days, but he’s going to be a good player for a long time in this league just because of his mentality. He’s a great addition to our locker room and a good guy to have around.”

Pritchard has played five games in total this season while playing nine minutes a game.

Pritchard Delves Into Standout Play

During the game against the Nuggets, Pritchard’s play of the game was during an instance in the second quarter in which he grabbed an offensive rebound, fought for another that kept the ball in Boston’s hands, then stole the ball away from Deandre Jordan on the rebound that turned into a wide-open layup.

After the game, Pritchard delved into that possession, noting how he takes advantage of teams not expecting him to go for offensive rebounds.

“Usually, teams don’t think I’m gonna crash half the time, so they lose me, but I just find a way to sneak in there to get my hands on the balls and tip them out or pull them down. Any way I can get some extra possessions,” Pritchard said.

Jordan may not be putting up the same rebounding numbers that he did with the Los Angeles Clippers, but he is still averaging 5.1 rebounds while playing 13.1 minutes a game for the Nuggets. Pritchard managed to fight for rebounds with someone who is, give or take, one foot taller than him.

Joe Mazzulla Emphasizes Trust in Pritchard

The Celtics interim coach told reporters how much he trusts Pritchard whenever he puts him in the game.

“I’ve said it to him, I’ve said it to others, no matter what situation he’s in, when his name gets called, I trust that he’s going to be ready to play, I trust he’s going to know the game plan, and I trust he’s going to have a great mindset,” Mazzulla said.

Mazzulla then added that Pritchard playing as well as he has despite the limited opportunities proves how unified the Celtics locker room is.

“It’s a compliment to the locker room that the guys like each other, and they keep each other engaged,” Mazzulla said. “And it’s a real compliment to him that regardless of the circumstances, he’s going to execute.”