Horford’s Career Night Gives Home-Court Advantage Back to Boston
Al Horford had never scored 30 points in a playoff game prior to the game on Monday. His postseason highlight occurred at the right time to the Celtics.
MILWAUKEE MILANWAUKEE Down by 2-1 in the series. Its the defensive backbone on the bench and who should Boston go to?
Al Horford Naturally.
The Celtics are alive in the second round due to an ex-All-Star who is 35 years old purchased in the summer of last year to replace a damaged point guard and a middle-first round selection. Who would have thought the moment Brad Stevens, in one of his first moves as the basketball president turned his back on Kemba Walker, and the Boston’s ’21 first pick to purchase Horford the title hopes were based on the deal?
I did not. You didn’teither.
Horford has played in 132 playoff games throughout his career. Few were more memorable as this. There was no one, maybe, that was more memorable. For 42 minutes Horford recorded a record-setting 30 points and 16 of them in the 4th quarter. “He made big shots,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. Mike Gorman, the voice of the Celtics for more than forty years, tweeted it was a top three fourth quarter performance by an Celtics player. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points. The Horford-led defense forced him shoot 32 times to score the 34 points.
“Said Ime Udoka “We were really in need of him to take charge of the situation with people being absent. He took it upon his shoulders.”
It’s not a show. It’s a street battle. It’s a wrestling contest with basketball shoes. There were 42 fouls ruled for Game 4. It could have been an additional 82. Elbows flew. Forearms, too. Following the match, Marcus Smart claimed Antetokounmpo of throwing him. Bodies slammed into the ground on almost every move. Fiserv Forum looked more like Lambeau Field.
“Everybody’s fighting,” said Smart. “You got the best players going at it.”
At times, it appeared like the Bucks were going to be able to take the lead. It was a one point game at the half. However, for the second time in a row game, the Celtics left the locker room with a flat score. Antetokounmpo was able to score 13 points. On the offensive side, Boston shot 40% from the floor. Milwaukee extended their lead over 11 during the 3rd quarter. The advantage was seven going into the fourth quarter and the Celtics were in danger.
Then … Horford. What was not mentioned during the Celtics losing at Game 3 is just how good Horford was. Horford scored 22 points, and racked up 16 rebounds over the course of 39 minutes. His game-winning tip-in in fourth quarter was only a fraction an second late. Boston’s frantic fourth quarter comeback fell just short, but it was a source of motivation to get ready for Game 4. According to Udoka, “We were all pretty pissed at the way we lost the last game.”