Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis hit the parquet for their first time ever as Celtics players. Their first impressions? The Boston home crowd is not your typical preseason crowd.
“That was insane. That was insane for a preseason game,” Porzingis said in the postgame presser, grinning from ear to ear. “Fun game to play in, fun game to watch at the end when Payton was going off and the crowd was into it. I’m very happy to be a Celtic, I’m not going to lie.”
Payton Pritchard led all scorers with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting in just 23 minutes of action, and the Celtics bench was loving it.
The Celtics bench is loving it. Payton Pritchard has taken over - he has 26 points in just 23 minutes of action.— Noa Dalzell (@NoaDalzellNBA) October 9, 2023
This one is all but over. pic.twitter.com/fI8PgVZcle
“The crowd’s crazy,” Holiday said after the game. “The energy in the building is crazy. It was fun to get out there and just kind of get my feet wet.”
Though just 10 days ago he was living in Milwaukee and declaring he wanted to retire a Buck, Holiday is now embracing being a Celtic.
“I’m over it at this point,” Holiday said. “Trying to focus on the season, trying to get acclimated and go out there and have fun. All the trade stuff has kind of passed.”
Holiday described his new teammates as “really smart players that make the game easy.” He’s spent the last week learning the Celtics plays and schemes, and while he struggled shooting in his Celtics debut, finishing just 2-of-10 from the field, he didn’t seem too concerned.
He’s just happy to be here.
“You feel it from the crowd,” he said. “You feel that they want it bad — preseason game, it was loud, it was crazy, even down to the last seconds of the game, you see how they’re into it.”
Just hours after signing a 4-year, $30 million extension, Pritchard calls the Celtics the best organization in the league.
There was a lot of hype around Payton Pritchard’s offseason, and he lived up to it with an impressive opening performance.
“It feels really good to be secure, locked in, and be a part of a really great organization, great city,” Pritchard said. “Obviously, I think this is the best basketball organization and city in the NBA.”
Thirteen of Pritchard’s 26 points came in the final 7:07 — the 76ers only scored 10 in that span. The crowd, completely electrified by the newly-extended guard, chanted MVP as he took the free throw line. Pritchard sealed the deal with a step-back three with 49 seconds left that gave the Celtics a six-point lead.
PAYTON PRITCHARD IS UNSTOPPABLE pic.twitter.com/JilKTkLYuT— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) October 9, 2023
“The fans are the best in the NBA,” Pritchard said. “You got fans like that for a preseason game, it’s unbelievable. It fuels you and makes you want to go out there and compete at a high level.”