Horford does it all for undermanned C’s

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Horford does it all for undermanned C’s

Post by bobheckler on Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:03 pm

http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20180415/celtics-journal-horford-does-it-all-for-undermanned-cs



Celtics Journal: Horford does it all for undermanned C’s





By Scott Souza / The MetroWest Daily News


Posted Apr 15, 2018 at 8:41 PM  




BOSTON — Celtics coach Brad Stevens said on the eve of the NBA playoffs that one of the things he loves about the postseason is “to see narratives busted.”

One that got busted in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday afternoon was about how Al Horford’s contributions to the team’s success don’t show up on the stat sheet. In this case, Horford’s 24-point, 12-rebound effort stood out in the box score as much as his aggressive, emotional and effective play stood out on the floor of a 113-107, overtime victory.

“We’re going to ride Al,” Stevens said. “He’s been unbelievable in being a facilitator for us all year. He has his moments, because of the way we’re being defended, where he gets to be more of a featured scorer. With where we are now, he’s going to be more of a featured scorer, and facilitate, and guard Giannis (Antetokounmpo), and do everything.

“He’ll probably run our film session [Monday].”

Horford not only put in a big effort, he put in a long one, on Sunday as he went 44 minutes, 19 seconds, including the final eight minutes of regulation and all the way in overtime until Stevens lifted him to a huge ovation with 4.4 seconds left on the clock.

“It’s go time,” Horford said. “This is the time where you want to play. You want to be in these games setting the tone. It all starts on the defensive end. I try to set the tone on defense and kind of go from there. I guess it’s doing whatever I can do to help us win. That’s what it’s all about.”

On Sunday, that tone was set with Horford being the primary defender on Antetokounmpo, and with Horford taking it to the Bucks star in the paint on the offensive end.

“We were trying to get me in post-up situations,” Horford said. “They did a good job fronting me, making it difficult to get the ball. The way that they are playing me, it’s forcing me to be closer to the basket. Which is fine with me. It’s just trying to find ways to be efficient and help the team.”

Horford was the ultimate example of efficiency Sunday as he scored his 24 points on just eight shots — getting to the line 14 times with 13 makes.


“I wasn’t necessarily trying to draw fouls,” he said. “I was going to score. But they were fouling, reaching or whatever.”

Horford also had four assists, three blocked shots and a steal.

“You’ve got to give everything you’ve got on every possession,” said Marcus Morris, who shared the frontcourt with Horford as part of a small lineup most of the fourth quarter and nearly all of overtime. “Al understands that. He’s been around in this league. He does what he does for the team. We need him.”

Horford said he still had plenty left in the tank even at the end of the marathon night.

“I feel fine,” he said. “One of the good things throughout the year that [Stevens] and the medical staff did was that they managed all of our minutes well. I’m tired now. It was a hard game. But I’m fine.”


Bench support

Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart were both on the bench to start the game, with both getting involved in the huddles and with instructions to healthy teammates at times.


While Irving will be a spectator throughout the playoffs after season-ending knee surgery, Smart said before the game he hopes to be back as early as the end of the first round from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. Smart was out shooting before the game and said his ligament is healed, and that now it’s about getting “muscle memory” back in his thumb.

His projected return date of April 27 would have him on the floor for a potential Game 7 on April 28.

Four Celtics players topped the 40-minute mark in the game with Jaylen Brown leading the way as a team-best, plus-18 in 45:36. ... Tatum’s 19 points and 10 rebounds made him only the third rookie in Celtic history — joining Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Russell — to record a double-double in his first NBA playoff game. His 19 points are also tied for third most in Celtic history for a rookie in his first playoff game.



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Re: Horford does it all for undermanned C’s

Post by dboss on Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:23 pm

He had one of his best games of the year. I am curious to see if he has the stamina to do this for 3 more wins.
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