Heat coach Erik Spoelstra objects to Celtics guard Payton Pritchard grabbing Jimmy Butler’s leg: ‘It was not a basketball play’
Heat star Jimmy Butler left Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals after Celtics guard Payton Pritchard grabbed his leg.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra on Payton’s swipe, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida SunSentinel:
A legal play? Nobody thinks it was. Pritchard got called for a foul.
A safe play? Not really, though far from the least safe plays. Playing basketball, to varying degrees on different plays, carries risk.
A basketball play? Yes. Pritchard fell then fouled Butler to stop him from attacking the rim unimpeded. That’s a common basketball play. As J.J. Redick noted on the above clip, it looked like Pritchard caught Butler above the knee – not a particularly susceptible spot.
It’s unfortunate Butler got hurt, and it’d be unfortunate if it were on that play. But Pritchard didn’t appear to cross the line.