Stunned Celtics Star Jayson Tatum Sounds off on Al Horford Decision

Al Horford, Boston Celtics

Getty Al Horford, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics fell to defeat against the Orlando Magic on December 16, but it was Al Horford’s ejection from the contest that garnered the most attention from the fanbase.

Speaking to the media following the game, Jayson Tatum revealed his disbelief at the referee’s decision to eject the veteran center, despite Mo Wagner having fouled him throughout the early quarters of the contest.

“That was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe Al got thrown out the game. I didn’t think that was warranted. Especially once they went to go review, they saw that Mo fouled him; first, that’s how I got to shoot the free throws. You know, sometimes guys get tired of people grabbing on them and the ref not seeing it. So, s***, as a grown man, you take it in your own hands to get somebody up off of you, and that’s all he did, just got him up off of him because he was getting fouled. I don’t think Al deserved to get thrown out of the game at all,” Tatum said.

In his 16 minutes of gameplay, Horford provided the Celtics with six points, three blocks, six rebounds, and an assist while shooting 50% from beyond the perimeter on two-of-four shooting. Now, the veteran big man will wait to see if there’s an additional punishment heading his way from the league or whether his ejection will be deemed to have been enough.

Al Horford Was Returning to Celtics Rotation

Horford, 36, had missed the last five games for the Celtics, starting with the December 5 contest against the Toronto Raptors and ending with the December 13 game against the Los Angeles Lakers, due to being with his wife for the birth of their child.

Horford has been his usual impactful self for the Celtics this season, providing them with averages of 10 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 53.6% from the field, 46.7% from deep, and 62.5% from the three-frow line.

Interestingly, Horford has adapted his offensive style to become more perimeter-based as he looks to reserve his body throughout the regular season to ensure he’s in good enough shape to withstand the physicality of the playoffs.

Al Horford Recently Signed a Contract Extension

Coming into this season, Horford was due to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023; however, on December 1, news broke that Boston’s veteran leader had agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $10 million per year to remain with the team for what could potentially be the final two years of his career.

“Horford has had a career revival in his second run with the Celtics, emerging as an integral part of a championship contender. At 36, he has remained a productive player, and he continues to hold a significant amount of respect inside the locker room and in the Boston community,” Adrian Wojnarowski wrote for ESPN on December 1.

Now, the Celtics organization and its fanbase will be waiting to see if Horford is allowed to participate in their December 18 rematch against the Magic or whether he will be forced to watch his teammates compete from the sidelines.