Ime Udoka shouldn't have had to apologize for Payton Pritchard's success

I get why Ime Udoka publicly said he apologized for the Celtics celebrations at the end of their blowout win versus the Blazers Saturday night. It's 2021 and everyone is hyper sensitive and love to make mountains out of mole hills, but honestly there should have been no need for the apology. And Chauncey Billups shouldn't need it.

The end of NBA games have gotten ridiculous. If you have a competitive game then you have to deal with a drawn out ending due to replay delays and time outs. The final 2 minutes will take 20. But if the game is decided, the winning team is supposed to stop playing in the final minute, so as "not to show up their opponent." Look whether you lose 145 to 117 or 140 to 117 you still got whooped. You still lost.

Just let teams play to the final buzzer. This is often a time when young bench players who don't get many minutes get a chance to play. Fans like to see what the end of the bench players can do.

It used to be that the winning NBA team would dribble out the final seconds instead of taking one last shot at the buzzer. Then it became dribble out the final possession. Now you see teams taking 24 second shot clock violations just to avoid "embarrassing" their opponent.

Now you're not even allowed to have your bench guys plays hard with like 2 minutes left? As Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn would say "Give me a break!"

And it's not just the NBA anymore. Walk-ons are expected to dribble out the clock at the end of lopsided NCAA games. Even in rec leagues, games will just end early if the losing team has no chance of winning. Don't get me started on "mercy rules." Just play the games! Let the players play to the final buzzer.

I'm not trying to say there aren't some unwritten rules that makes sense. For example if two high school teams face each other and one is completely overmatched and losing by 70 in the 3rd quarter, then yes you should stop pressing. Let the other team at least get it over half court. Play your 3rd string players, who are probably still better than the opposing team's 1st string. No need to win by 120.

But NBA teams aren't ever that overmatched. No teams lose by 120 (Not even the tanking Thunder). No teams can't make it over half court due to a press. And these are grown men, not kids. The millionaire Portland Trail Blazers players and head coach can handle a whooping whether it's by 22 or 30.

Payton Pritchard getting some run, breaking out of his shooting slump, and putting on a show in his home state of Oregon was a nice story. His teammates joy at his success was as well. No need to apologize.