Al Horford is receiving praise from every corner of the NBA universe at the moment, courtesy of his 30-point game four performance for the Boston Celtics on May 9.
Horford was instrumental in Boston’s game plan as he continued his stellar play in the series, building off his 22-point, 16 rebound night on May 7. Still, at 35-years-old, Horford has become the unlikely savior for the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs, as he continues to turn back the clock on both sides of the floor.
Since the turn of the month, Horford has been attacking closeouts off the dribble, dominating on the defensive glass, hitting his threes at a 50% clip, and averaging 18.8 points per game. Those types of performances have seen Horford’s name become regular across social media, as fans, media members, and players all weigh in with their praise for Horford.
Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors is the latest player to go on record with his praise for Boston’s veteran center, choosing to do so in a recent episode of his Draymond Green show podcast.
“Al Horford is playing incredible basketball. He’s knocking down shots; he’s doing a great job on Giannis (Antetokounmpo). He’s their veteran leader, as you can see how everyone responds to everything that he says, his presence, I mean Al, has been absolutely incredible.
I’m not sure what his contract situation is, but it looks like he’s got another four or five years of bump in those legs, and it’s been incredible to watch. What Al has done for that series is what you can see in watching this game. What you can see is Milwaukee is saying Jaylen Brown won’t beat us, and Jayson Tatum won’t beat us, so Al Horford is saying, ‘Ok, I will,” Green said.
Marcus Smart Heaps Praise on Horford
Horford’s impact on the Celtics’ recent fortunes hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates. Many of them crediting his recent high-level play as a primary reason why their team is tied against the reigning NBA Champions.
Following Boston’s impressive game four victory, Marcus Smart led the plaudits for the Flordia product, noting how his veteran leadership in the locker room is one of the more underrated aspects of Horford’s presence on the roster.
“He’s the best vet we’ve ever had. The best vet I’ve ever had. He comes in, and it never changes with him. Things are going bad or good. He’s going to be him. And nine times out of ten, that will work out in our favor. So, we very much need it from him. He came through big for us and helped us secure this win tonight,” Smart told reporters after the Celtics’ latest win.
Horford Credits Giannis Disrespect as His Motivation
Early in the third quarter, Giannis completed a thunderous dunk over Horford and then stared him down, earning himself a technical foul for taunting. Boston’s veteran center was clearly annoyed by the unprofessional behavior and upped his level of intensity for the remainder of the contest.
“I don’t really know what he said to me, but the way that he was looking at me and the way he was going about it really didn’t sit well with me. And I think at that point, something switched in me,” Horford told reporters after the game.
Of course, Horford got his revenge later in the game, dunking on Giannis and sending the Celtics bench wild. Horford continued to play the game at an elite level and helped the Celtics snag a closely contested win. Now, both the Celtics and their fans will be looking for the team to take control of the series in game five on Wednesday, May 11.