BOSTON — The Miami Heat are unhappy with Boston Celtics reserve guard Payton Pritchard over a defensive play Pritchard made against Heat star Jimmy Butler during the second quarter of Miami’s victory in Game 3 on Saturday.
Butler missed the second half of the game with right knee inflammation and is listed as questionable for Monday’s Game 4 though Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Butler is one of several players going through their normal gameday routine "with the intent to play."
Spoelstra said Pritchard’s attempt to slow Butler "was not a basketball play. We’re not really sure why it was determined that was a basketball play or that was a legal play or that was a safe play."
Nearing the midway point of the second quarter, Pritchard slipped while trying to defend Butler. As Butler dribbled toward the basket, Pritchard grabbed Butler’s right knee and took Butler’s right leg out from under him. Butler fell to the floor. Pritchard was called for a foul with 6:14 left in the quarter, and the play was not reviewed.
@miaheatbeat @5ReasonsSports is this the knee Jimmy is dealing with?
ESPN talked about the Poole play on Morant for decades, but I haven’t seen any mention of Pritchard yanking at Jimmy’s knee. pic.twitter.com/feydGGs9ND
— court corner (@courtcorner) May 22, 2022
Spoelstra said the team is not sure the injury happened or was further aggravated on that play. The play is being compared to the play Golden State’s Jordan Poole made on Memphis’ Ja Morant in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals, which ended Morant’s season.
"We’re not going to say it’s bigger than it was because we don’t know what triggered Jimmy’s injury," Spoelstra said. "Regardless, it should be two separate examples. We don’t need it (penalty for Pritchard from the league). We don’t care. The league doesn’t have to do anything. We’re not begging."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Heat upset about play Celtics' Payton Pritchard made on Jimmy Butler