Payton Pritchard's Halfcourt Buzzer Beater Gave Celtics a Massive Halftime Lead

Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard reacts after making a half-court shot at the buzzer to end the second quarter in game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals.
Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard reacts after making a half-court shot at the buzzer to end the second quarter in game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals. / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics entered halftime of Game 5 of the NBA Finals with a 21-point lead over the Dallas Mavericks. Their big first half was capped off by an electric buzzer beater from Payton Pritchard from half court.

Pritchard hadn't been in the Celtics' rotation at all during the first half, but he checked in for the final few seconds of the second quarter and made an instant impact.

Al Horford rebounded the ball with 2.9 seconds left and threw an outlet pass to Pritchard, who was already darting up the court. He caught the ball in stride and pulled up from beyond half court, sinking the shot to give Boston a 67–46 lead.

It wasn't even the first time this series that Pritchard ended a quarter with a bang. He's made a name for himself during the Finals, having already hit a similarly deep buzzer-beating heave during Game 2 at the end of the third quarter. There's a reason he saw his first minutes of the game during that exact sequence.

Pritchard's unbelievable bucket to end the first half of Game 5 was the longest made shot in an NBA Finals game in the last 25 years. And it left the sports world stunned, with athletes such as Patrick Mahomes, Ja Morant, Trae Young and more taking to social media to share their disbelief over the "Pritchard Prayer."


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Karl Rasmussen

KARL RASMUSSEN

Karl Rasmussen is a staff writer for the Breaking and Trending News team for Sports Illustrated. A University of Oregon alum who joined SI in February 2023, his work has appeared on 12up and ClutchPoints. Rasmussen is a loyal Tottenham, Jets, Yankees and Ducks fan.