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Payton Pritchard seems to have been the culprit in Jimmy Butler’s right knee acting up.
While the Miami Heat were able to beat the Boston Celtics despite being down Jimmy Butler for most of Game 3, let’s not overlook a dirty play Payton Pritchard seems to have gotten away with.
Even though Butler has had issues with this right knee throughout the 2022 NBA Playoffs, there is nothing natural about how Pritchard seems to have grabbed it as Butler fell onto the hardwood on Saturday night. Butler’s knee injury may not be of the most serious variety, but this is the type of dirty play that does not need to be in the game. And Jaylen Brown still hated the officiating…
It is pretty clear Pritchard yanked at Butler’s right knee in an attempt to bring him to the floor.
Payton Pritchard may have caused Jimmy Butler to leave Game 3 prematurely
It may have only been a six-point road victory for the top-seeded Heat, but the entire dynamic of the game changed once Butler exited for good. Thankfully, his teammate Bam Adebayo stepped up to give Miami a 2-1 series lead over the Celtics. Though Boston played better once Butler left the game, the biggest reason they lost was because they were so careless with the basketball.
Boston shot itself in the foot repeatedly with one bad turnover after another. They lost the turnover battle considerably to Miami, 23-8. This contributed largely to their second loss in the best-of-seven. After seizing home-court advantage in Game 2’s victory over Miami, Boston has to win at least one more game on the road to have any chance of advancing to this year’s NBA Finals.
With a day off in between games, there is a chance Butler is able to give it a go on Monday night in Game 4 at Boston. Though winning back-to-back games on the road to take a commanding 3-1 series lead would be ideal for the Heat, they are not going to force Butler out there if it is going to be a struggle for him to give it a go. This is about winning two more games, not just the next one.
Look for Miami fans to let Pritchard have it when this series returns to South Florida for Game 5.