Al Horford anything but average against Bucks in Game 1

Nick Friar
April 28, 2019 - 3:28 pm

Prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters the long layoff between series wasn’t ideal for anyone. He may want to consider only speaking on behalf of his own team going forward.

Based on what we saw in the Celtics 112-90 win, Boston took advantage of every ounce of downtime between the first round and Sunday. Especially, Al Horford, who looked more like “Shaq Daddy” than “Average Al” on Sunday.

In case Game 1 was the first NBA game you’ve ever seen, Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the best basketball players on the planet, despite the way Horford dominated him from start to finish.

As impressive as the blocked shots were, the most surprising part of Horford’s defensive showing was his ability to stop multiple Antetokounmpo drives before he even had the chance to attempt a shot. The Greek Freak (22 points on 7 of 21 shooting) was bouncing off Horford and constantly forced to defer to his teammates.

Now, there were moments where Antetokounmpo found the right man along the perimeter and made the Celtics pay, but it didn’t happen often enough. That was also due to the Celtics quick rotations. They were always ready to help Horford, Marcus Morris or whoever else had Antetokounmpo, but kept an eye on their own assignment, as well.

Horford was dynamite on the offensive end, as well. He was 8-for-16 from the floor and scored 20 points in his double-double performance (11 rebounds). Kyrie Irving led the C’s with 26 points on 12 of 21 shooting while Jaylen Brown (8-for-14) scored 19 and Gordon Hayward (5-for-8) was efficient in scoring 13 points. Irving also had a double-double (11 assists).