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Payton Pritchard has been irregular in his first nine NBA video games. Most novices are. The highs are dazzling, such as a 23- point outing versus the Toronto Raptors. The lows are, well, low, such as his scoreless effort versus the Detroit Pistons previously in the season. On Wednesday, he showed the basketball world why the Celtics are thrilled about his future by conserving them from one of the worst collapses in current NBA history.

With 1: 17 staying on the clock versus the Miami Heat, the Celtics led 105-95 At that minute, the Celtics had a 98.1 percent opportunity to win, according to ESPN’s win probability metric. Things went completely off of the rails from there. Duncan Robinson struck a 3-pointer. Jayson Tatum missed a shot. Duncan Robinson got fouled on another made 3-pointer and continued to make the free-throw. Miami got yet another stop. Goran Dragic struck a 3-pointer. Tie video game. Marcus Smart misses out on a layup, and easily, we’re going to overtime thanks to 77 of the worst seconds of basketball any group might play.

Or are we? Sneaking in behind the play, Pritchard managed to get into the lane, protect the offensive rebound and try the game-winning layup in the air before the buzzer sounded. It achieved success. Celtics 107, Heat105 Boston wins.

Pritchard was relatively unimpressive in the game, scoring six points on 3-of-10 shooting, but that’s what tends to take place with novices. Pritchard was up when Boston needed him to be, revealing the sort of situational awareness and savvy that most veterans even do not have.


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