Payton Pritchard has emerged as the top reserve on an otherwise thin Celtics bench, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps writes. Pritchard, who made six 3-pointers against Toronto on Thursday, has thrived as an off-the-ball guard whose shot opposing defenses have to respect. That provides Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with space to operate and the 26th pick in last year’s draft has also held his own defensively.
We have more from the Atlantic Division:
- Brown is dealing with tendonitis in his left knee, radio show Toucher and Rich tweets. GM Danny Ainge said the team will keep close tabs on Brown’s knee issue. Brown has appeared in 22 of Boston’s 24 games entering Friday’s action, averaging 26 PPG in 33.2 MPG.
- Knicks rookie forward Obi Toppin could reap benefits from playing with recently-acquired Derrick Rose, Steve Popper of Newsday notes. Toppin was fouled while dunking off a pass from Rose against Miami on Tuesday. Toppin could return to his rim-running ways in college, rather than be used a spot-up shooter. “Playing with him, he plays with speed. He looks to find guys,” Toppin said of Rose. “So playing with this team, period, is amazing, but Derrick, having him here now is amazing.”
- The Knicks will start allowing a limited number of fans at Madison Square Garden on February 23 and Toppin is excited to finally play in front of a home crowd, he told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We have the best fan base in the NBA,” he said. “It will be amazing to have fans. But safety is first. When that time comes for fans to be there we’ll love it.’