During Thursday’s matchup bench players had their moment of shine in Boston. In particular, the Boston Celtics depended on Payton Pritchard and Semi Ojeleye to secure the 106-120 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Pritchard and Ojeleye had strong performances to help the Celtics, especially in the offensive end.
In particular, Pritchard finished with 20 points and Ojeleye had a team-high 24 points in a night that Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 27 points. More importantly, Tatum and Brown combined for 19 assists with Brown dishing a career-high 10 assists to his teammates, who made the most of it as Pritchard, Ojeleye and Walker hit 17-of-24 shots from deep.
Ojeleje added six rebounds to his career-high 24 points with him and Pritchard becoming the first pair of teammates in the history of the franchise to make at least six threes in the same game.
Also, Pritchard became the first Celtics’ rookie to hit 5+ threes off the bench. The Oregon product plays like a savvy veteran in his first season in the NBA shooting the ball in the high forties from the field and making plays at will as the Celtics are on a +5.9 plus/minus, when the rookie takes the floor. He is also a great shooter making his threes in a rate of 46.9-percent on 3.6 attempts per contest.
Semi Ojeleye has also a great year so far for the Celtics as he seems to make great strides every year since he entered the league.
This season the third-year forward receives a career-high 18.4 minutes per contest showcasing his abilities on both ends of the floor. The Celtics are a minus-2.3 in the 729 minutes Ojeleye was not on the floor so far this year. On the other hand, they are bashing their opponents by a plus-9.2 per 100 possessions during the 429 minutes Ojeleye is on the floor allowing a team-best 103.7 points per 100 possessions with the Southern Methodist product in the lineup.
The Celtics will need this type of play from their bench, especially in the playoffs, where a capable bench unit can make the difference during the time the starters are resting. During this regular season, many role players will have the chance to shine due to the shortened season and players being forced to sit out because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. In that type of environment, teams will need all the help they can get to succeed.