Celtics-Raptors Overreactions: Pritchard has earned a chance to start


The Boston Celtics overcame a slow start to take down the Toronto Raptors on Monday night, 126-114.

It was a pair of 22-year-olds leading the C's to their second straight victory. Jayson Tatum and rookie Payton Pritchard were the stars with 40 and 23 points respectively.

Tatum drops 40 as C's dominate Raptors

Naturally, the win gave us at home plenty to overreact to. Here are three instant overreactions as Boston improves to 5-3 on the season.

1. Jayson Tatum has regained superstar form.

Jaylen Brown has been the center of attention for Boston so far this season -- and rightfully so -- but Tatum showed Monday night why he's the top option on this team.

One night after nailing the game-winner vs. Detroit, Tatum went off on the Raptors for 40 points. The All-Star forward has struggled to get to the free-throw line early in the campaign, but that wasn't the case Monday night as he drilled all 13 of his attempts from the line.

Jayson Tatum puts up 40 points against Raptors

Tatum is beginning to look like the superstar player we watched take a major leap last season. With him and Brown both performing at such a high level, opposing teams should be petrified.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

2. Payton Pritchard has earned a chance to start.

What else can we say about "Fast PP" at this point? The 22-year-old rookie is legit.

Some believed Pritchard could get a chance to start in Monday's game with Marcus Smart and Jeff Teague both sidelined, but it was Tremont Waters getting the nod. Waters finished with five points on 1-for-8 shooting with four turnovers. Pritchard was a major spark plug with 23 points and eight assists in 32 minutes.

Payton Pritchard puts up 23 points in win over Raptors

When Kemba Walker eventually returns to the lineup, Pritchard has earned the right to continue getting his share of minutes off the bench. But we'd even go as far as to say Pritchard deserves a chance to be thrown into the starting lineup as soon as Wednesday, especially if Smart and Teague are ruled out again.

It's safe to say few saw this coming when the C's selected Pritchard at No. 26 overall. What a pleasant surprise.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

3. Semi Ojeleye and Grant Williams can be consistent contributors off the bench.

Pritchard will steal most of the headlines, but Semi Ojeleye and Grant Williams deserve a ton of credit for their efforts off the bench for the Celtics on Monday night.

Ojeleye contributed 12 points (3-for-5 from 3-point range) and eight rebounds in 30 minutes. Williams finished with 14 points (3-for-4 from 3), six rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes. Altogether, Boston's second unit tallied 60 points for its best performance of the season by a long shot.

This is Ojeleye's second straight impressive showing. In Sunday's win over Detroit, he tallied 11 points in 22 minutes. If he and Williams can turn this into a trend, and Pritchard continues to work his magic, this Celtics team will be extremely difficult to stop.

Verdict: Slight overreaction

Next up for the Celtics is a matchup vs. the Miami Heat on Wednesday night with tip off set for 7:30 p.m. ET.