NBA: Pritchard scores career-high 38 in Celtics win over Wizards

NBA: Pritchard scores career-high 38 in Celtics win over Wizards

/ 04:36 PM April 15, 2024

Payton Pritchard Boston Celtics NBA

Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard (11) drives toward the basket past Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija (8) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 14, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON — Payton Pritchard scored a career-high 38 points and the NBA-best Boston Celtics rested their entire starting lineup in a 132-122 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday in the teams’ regular-season finale.

Svi Mykhailiuk added 26 points and Sam Hauser 16 for Boston, which sat Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White and Jrue Holiday along with top reserve Al Horford.

Pritchard added 12 assists with nine rebounds. In last year’s final regular-season game, the 6-foot-1 Pritchard had a triple-double with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, joining Larry Bird and John Havlicek as the only Celtics with at least 30 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in a game.

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He picked up his ninth rebound with 5:22 left in the game and played the rest of the way.

“If it came, I’ll take it. But I got one last year,” he said, smiling. “It wasn’t like I had pressure to get my first triple-double. I’m a pretty good rebounder. So if I get the minutes, I think I’ll be able to get another triple-double.”

The Celtics (64-18) finished their 15th season in club history with 60 or more wins, the most recent in 2008 when they captured the NBA title.

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Having lost Game 7 at home against Miami in the Eastern Conference finals last spring, anything less than a trip to the NBA Finals this year would very likely be viewed as a disappointment.

“The most important thing getting into a situation is having no expectations,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said of the upcoming postseason. “If you study teams that have even been fortunate enough, and if we’re fortunate enough to get to a Finals, if not win it, the road there is always forgotten by the result of winning.”

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The Wizards (15-67) ended their third straight season and fifth in the past six without a playoff berth. Eugene Omoruyi led them with a career-best 26 points and Jared Butler had 22 in their sixth straight loss.

“I think we developed a lot of resilience and we developed a competitive atmosphere, and we learned about the process; what it takes to be a really good team,” Wizards interim coach Brian Keefe said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I think we started laying the foundation for that.”

Pritchard played all 82 games this season. He scored 14 points in the final 2:19 of the opening half, connecting on all four of his 3-point attempts to give Boston a 69-59 halftime edge.

At halftime, the Celtics honored TV play-by-play announcer, Mike Gorman, who is retiring after his 43rd season calling their games. There were many tributes on the Jumbotron from former Boston players and folks around the NBA during timeouts.

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Wizards: Season over.

Celtics: Await their first-round playoff opponent for next Sunday.

TAGS: Boston Celtics, Payton Pritchard

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