Al Horford has struggled for consistency throughout the Boston Celtics’ road to the Eastern Conference Finals.
However, that hasn’t stopped the veteran big man from provoking the opposition after he scores or the Celtics go on a big run. Yet, when Jimmy Butler threw up the ‘time out’ celebration during Boston’s May 21 loss to the Miami Heat, it was clear that Horford didn’t see the funny side of the situation.
According to Draymond Green, Horford is a sneaky trash talker during games and as such, deserved Butler’s mimicking celebration.
“I’ll never forget Al Horford did my flex on me when he got an and-1, and they came back in game one. And what did I do? I politely gave it back in game two,” Draymond said. “But guys don’t like when you dish back what they give. Al Horford like be sneakily talking s*** and be mocking people in celebrations, and Jimmy hit him with the time-out joint, and he was ready to fight. That was hilarious because, again, you can’t get mad when you dished it first in game one prematurely, and then someone dishes it back, and it ain’t going so well.”
Horford, 36, has struggled to replicate his perimeter shooting during the postseason, averaging just 31% from deep in 17 playoff games so far, despite taking 4.9 attempts per game.
Jimmy Butler Sounds Off Following Celtics Win
On May 23, the Celtics avoided being swept by the Heat after winning game four, inflicting Miami’s first home loss of the postseason in the process. During his post-game press conference, Butler noted how the loss will reinvigorate his team and prepare them to close out the series on May 25.
“If anything, it’ll build momentum for us knowing that we have to play with a lot more energy,” Butler said. “We have to play like our backs are against the wall, but I think all year long, we’ve been better whenever we’ve had to do things our way.”
Butler has been one of the standout performers of the playoffs and is averaging 29.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game on 50.5% shooting from the field and 34.8% shooting from the perimeter.
Grant Williams Focusing on Defense
Grant Williams has struggled for a consistent role within Boston’s rotation throughout the playoffs but came off the bench to provide a significant impact during their game-four victory.
When addressing the media following the game, the impending restricted free agent discussed how the Celtics are looking to set the tone with their defense.
“This team beats you by playing harder than you and knocking down those [3-pointers] and open opportunities so we just have to maintain our pressure, maintain that perspective. Understanding that no matter what’s going on just make that extra effort… Even when we’re tired we get back and we don’t allow easy transition baskets because that’s how leads slip,” Grant Williams said.
Following their first win of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics will now head back to Boston for game five, where they will once again be in a win-or-go-home situation, with the contest set to take place on Thursday, May 25.