Hawks' Trae Young 'called' big moment in Game 5 of the NBA Finals

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young pointed out his foresight on a big play during Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young could see it coming. With the Boston Celtics already staked to an 18-point lead over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Payton Pritchard hit a half-court shot to boost his team's momentum and adrenaline going into the break.

Boston took their 67-46 halftime lead and turned into a 106-88 victory.

“I called that Payton Pritchard shot,” Young posted on X on June 17. “he really be making those!”

Pritchard logged the eighth-most minutes among Celtics players in the series. He hit just three of his 16 looks from beyond the arc in the Finals. Two of those looks were from halfcourt and came at the buzzer.

That was beautiful,” former Hawks center Al Horford said about Pritchard during his postgame press conference.

“That dude, he’s a f****** legend,” Celtics star Jaylen Brown said.

As big as Pritchard’s shot was, the game was never in doubt. The Celtics led by as many as 26 points. The Mavericks trailed for the full 48 minutes. Still, Pritchard’s shot drew reactions from others, including Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and Mavs fan Patrick Mahomes.

“Bro i hate this dude,” Mahomes posted along with laughing emojis in reaction to Pritchard’s halfcourt prowess.

Pritchard averaged 3.4 points for the series.

The three was his only make for his only points of Game 5. He scored in just two other games in the series, dropping 11 points in the Celtics’ blowout loss in Game 4, and had three points in Game 2 when he hit his other halfcourt shot.

Young has been an outspoken supporter of many of the performances of the postseason. But he would surely prefer to be a story of the playoffs rather than witnessing them.

Hawks can take lessons from Celtics

This space has been used to lobby for the Hawks to keep Young and Dejounte Murray together amid strong speculation they will split them up this offseason. The Mavericks were even used as a prime example.

But the Celtics also stand out as an example of what can happen when front offices prioritize finding solutions rather than creating more problems with constant turnover.

Brown and Jayson Tatum are the Celtics’ version of Murray and Young.

Their success has been great for as long as they have been a duo. But their fit together had long been viewed as a hindrance to the Celtics becoming a true championship team. This title proves otherwise.

The Hawks’ duo has plenty of poor numbers to suggest breaking them up. But the issues that plague the Hawks existed before Murray’s arrival.

That suggests a different root cause and moving players is just shuffling the same mess.

While the Mavs are proof of how simple a team can turn around the fortunes of its odd-couple star duo, the Celtics are an example of what seeing your grand design through to the end can yield.

It was just two years ago that the Hawks surrendered a significant package to land Murray from the San Antonio Spurs.

Unless the players are pushing for a change, pulling the plug already reeks of a poor process.