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Veteran Al Horford got dunked on, keyed Celtics’ NBA playoffs Game 4 win against Bucks | Opinion

Veteran Al Horford got dunked on, keyed Celtics’ NBA playoffs Game 4 win against Bucks | Opinion

Al Horford managed a tough season with Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder in 2020-21. He performed in simply 28 video games and was inactive for the ultimate seven weeks of the season, biding his time for one thing higher than that.

He wasn’t a part of the Thunder’s future, wasn’t positive about his future, however he knew he wanted a brand new group.

Horford discovered a brand new group, which occurred to be his previous group, the Boston Celtics the place he performed from 2016-2019.

When Boston acquired him in an offseason commerce that despatched Kemba Walker to Oklahoma Metropolis, Horford’s sister, Anna, tweeted, “WE’RE BACK BABY,” with the requisite shamrock emojis.

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A key a part of Boston’s rotation throughout the common season, Horford has been excellent within the playoffs and the explanation why the Celtics are tied 2-2 with the Milwaukee Bucks in an Japanese Convention semifinals sequence.

In Boston’s 116-108 victory in Sport 4 on Monday, Horford scored a playoff career-high 30 factors and had eight rebounds and three assists. He scored 16 factors in Boston’s decisive fourth quarter wherein the Celtics outscored the Bucks 43-28.

“I used to be actually simply locked in,” Horford stated. “I understood the second (and) what we wanted to do as a gaggle. Simply actually got here out and did no matter it took.”

He made 11-for-14 pictures from the sphere, together with 5-for-7 3s and helped the Celtics overcome a 10-point third-quarter deficit on the highway. Throughout a two-minute stretch within the fourth quarter, Horford had 9 of Boston’s 11 factors, together with a large dunk on Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“Large play clearly. Very emotional, and for our group, it actually acquired us going much more at that time,” Horford stated.

Earlier within the third quarter, Antetokounmpo dunked on Horford and gave him snarled stare, leading to a technical foul for Antetokounmpo. Horford simply nodded his head.

“I don’t know what he stated to me, however the way in which he was me and the way in which he was going about it actually didn’t sit nicely with me,” Horford stated. “At that time, I feel one thing switched with me within the sport.”

Later within the fourth, he made back-to-back baskets giving Boston the lead for good.

“We advised him to be extraordinarily aggressive,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka stated.

At 35 years previous, he’s the story of the second spherical for the Celtics, and his veteran presence has a relaxing impact on a younger and proficient group.

“He’s the most effective vet we’ve ever had,” Celtics guard Marcus Sensible stated. “He is available in, he by no means adjustments. Issues going unhealthy or good, he’s going to be him and 9 occasions out of 10, it’s going to work out in our favor. It was very a lot wanted of him, and he got here by way of massive for us and helped us safe this win.”

Towards Milwaukee, Horford is averaging 18.8 factors, 11.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals and is taking pictures 54.9% from the sphere and 50% on 3-pointers.

It’s not simply Horford’s offense. Together with teammate Grant Williams, Horford has been the first defender on Antetokounmpo. And whereas Antetokounmpo scored 42 factors in Sport 3, the Celtics have made scoring tough for him. Antetokounmpo is taking pictures 43.9% from the sphere, together with 12.5% on 3-pointers – nicely under his season averages. His effectivity has suffered towards Boston’s protection.

Horford has held Antetokounmpo to 19-for-53 taking pictures within the sequence, in keeping with He has moved his toes, used his upper-body energy to restrict the two-time MVP. Some old-man savvy hasn’t damage both.

“I’m simply actually grateful for this chance that I’ve. … These are the moments I wish to be part of,” Horford stated.

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