Al Horford is averaging a double-double this season.
That may have gotten lost after Monday’s epic fourth-quarter collapse against the Chicago Bulls, where the Boston Celtics imploded defensively and fell to 2-5, and all the drama that came from postgame media availabilities, where Marcus Smart publicly criticized their stagnant offense that’s been running through Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Horford took a different approach in his own postgame presser, taking the blame for the defensive collapse. But as fans can see, and stats clearly show, this team’s problems would be much worse without Horford.
In fact, he’s been forced to play up to a level he perhaps has never reached before. And at age 35, too.
Horford has played in five games for Boston this season, averaging 14.4 points and 10.4 rebounds to go with 3.0 assists, 3.2 blocks and 1.2 steals in 30.8 minutes per game. He has a double-double in four of those five games. The one game where he didn’t record a double-double, Boston’s most recent loss to the Washington Wizards, he fell just shy with eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists, six (!!) blocks and a steal (with no turnovers).
The last time Horford averaged a double-double was his 2012-13 season with the Atlanta Hawks, probably the best season of his 15-year career. In 2017, he had 15 double-doubles in 72 games. The next season he recorded 10 in 68 games.
With four in five games this season, and a lot of responsibility apparently on his shoulders this year, there’s a great chance he obliterates previous production.
Clearly, he’s been the Celtics’ best player to this point. Hopefully he also can keep them together.