Al Horford makes everyone better.
The Boston Celtics have loved having him back on the team, and he’s picked up right where he left off in reunions with guys like Robert Williams and Dennis Schröder so far in training camp, getting a captain vote from Jaylen Brown in the process.
And in their second preseason game against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, the veteran helped Jayson Tatum look like he’d gotten closer to his offseason goals.
New head coach Ime Udoka has expressed his hope to see Tatum evolve his playmaking skills, and the two-time All-Star really embraced that with the help of Horford, shooting lights out against the Raptors.
Tatum flirted with a triple-double, posting 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, making some nice passes and knowing when to take the shot himself. Horford had 16 points, shooting 4-for-4 from 3-point range, and benefited from Tatum’s improved feel for the game.
“His feel on reading the defense — you know, he’s getting a lot of attention and obviously he’s getting the ball in his hands a lot and Toronto likes to double — so time and time again he just did a good job of getting rid of the ball, and in those times, I just happen to be at the top there and I just knew I had to be ready to shoot,” Horford said after the win via Zoom. “He’s doing a good job of feeling that out, knowing when to be aggressive and go score and knowing when to pass it. It’s a fine balance but I feel like that’s one of the areas he’s going to take a big step this season.”
Last season Tatum had career highs in scoring and assists, and with Horford back in green, we bet those numbers will continue to improve.