Payton Pritchard and Caleb Martin downplay on-court issues during Game 3 of Boston Celtics-Miami Heat series

May 23, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics gaurd Payton Pritchard (11) and Miami Heat
May 23, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics gaurd Payton Pritchard (11) and Miami Heat / Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics fans may hate Caleb Martin, but Payton Pritchard does not share that opinion; or at least isn't willing to admit it publicly.

Following a dominant 20-point victory for the Cs in Game 3, both players -- who were involved in a bit of a scuffle that resulted in no fouls for either play but did see Tyler Herro get a technical foul for throwing the ball, which was what prompted the two going face-to-face -- downplayed the issue.

“It’s just the competitiveness of the game,” Pritchard told reporters on April 28 (h/t NESN). “He threw the ball at Sam. Obviously, I’m going to be there for my teammate like we all are. Got a little chippy, but I’ve never been one to back down from any situation. That’s kind of the fun part of the game, though. I don’t think it’s nothing crazy. It’s not like we have hatred necessarily off the court. But when we’re on the hardwood, we’re going to war.”

Martin used nearly identical verbiage.

“It’s just us being competitive,” Martin prefaced before saying, “(Pritchard) does a lot of stuff similar to what I do for our team. He’s one of those guys who has that type of approach and likes to bring that dog mentality to their team. We’re just competing and just trying to get after it. Obviously, being down at that point, too, you get frustrated. Overall, we’re all just trying to do whatever we can to get our team a win.”

Boston Celtics-Miami Heat series has less bad blood than it appears

Sure, Jimmy Butler talked his smack ahead of Game 3, but does anybody take that seriously in hindsight? Even his social media troll was funnier than it was hostile. Though perhaps that's all the case because of how uncompetitive Game 3 ended up being.

There aren't players on either team who would be willing to scrap. Other players in the playoffs like Russell Westbrook, Pat Beverley, and Grayson Allen would go to war on the court. Certainly, no one in this series would since Martin gave the Cs the perfect chance to go at it with his hard foul on Jayson Tatum in Game 1; though further investigation showed that it was more of an accident than a malicious act.