Sports

Why Al Horford was the X-factor in Celtics’ Game 1 win over Nets


After Nets guard’s call-out, Horford lets his play do the speaking initially appeared on NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON — Al Horford saved his response understated.

When requested how he felt about Nets guard Bruce Brown saying Brooklyn ought to “attack” Horford and Daniel Theis with Robert Williams out as a result of damage, Horford responded:

“I’m excited to get going. My stuff gets done on the floor.”

Fast ahead to Sunday’s Game 1 at TD Garden, the place Horford delivered a stellar all-around efficiency that was an enormous purpose why Boston emerged with a 115-114 win.

Celtics-Nets takeaways: Tatum’s heroics assist C’s steal Game 1 thriller

Horford racked up 20 factors on 8-of-13 taking pictures, going 2-for-2 from 3-point vary whereas enjoying over 41 minutes of playoff basketball at age 35. He additionally grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds — six on the offensive finish — to assist the Celtics win the rebound battle, 43-29.

“I think the difference probably was offensive rebounds,” Nets star Kevin Durant stated after the sport. “It’s hard to pinpoint one thing, but … the rebounding: 43 to 29 on the boards is always tough to overcome, especially when they have 14 offensive rebounds.”

The Celtics benefited from Andre Drummond getting in early foul bother, because the Nets large man completed with simply 4 rebounds in lower than 18 minutes of sport time. But Horford’s work on the offensive glass helped generate 14 second-chance shot makes an attempt for Boston in comparison with Brooklyn’s 5.

“Their offensive rebounding, (us not) limiting them to one shot, one possession — I feel like that’s what really gave them some life toward the end of the game,” Nets guard Kyrie Irving admitted.

The final of Horford’s 15 rebounds got here with 12 seconds remaining, as he snatched Durant’s missed 3-pointer and initiated a Celtics quick break that led to Jayson Tatum’s game-winning layup because the buzzer sounded.

Some (together with Bruce Brown) considered Boston’s frontcourt as a weak spot coming into this collection with the dynamic Robert Williams sidelined. But Horford reminded the NBA world what he was able to Sunday, becoming a member of a really unique listing of gamers to place up not less than 20 factors and 15 rebounds after their thirty fifth birthday.

“Al was Al,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka stated after the sport. “He does it all the time.”

Whether Horford can maintain this excessive stage of play all through the collection whereas enjoying 40 minutes per evening stays to be seen. But with Theis and Grant Williams each having comparatively quiet afternoons, Horford single-handedly turned a Boston “weakness” right into a power in Game 1.

And he is wanting to do the identical in Wednesday’s Game 2, noting after Sunday’s sport that he feels “fine” regardless of his 41-minute workload.

“I’ll start the recovery process and get ready for Wednesday,” Horford stated.

Note: Games 2-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics collection might be aired solely on NBC Sports Boston and will also be streamed on NBCSportsBoston.com or with the MyGroups App, which you’ll obtain beneath.

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