Klay Thompson Reveals Warriors’ Defensive Game Plan For Al Horford

Horford scored just four points on 1-for-4 shooting in Game 2

by

June 7

For Boston Celtics forward Al Horford, his performances in the first two games of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors couldn’t have been more different.

Horford was a key catalyst in Boston’s Game 1 victory, notching a team-high 26 points on 9-for-12 shooting before the Warriors significantly limited his offensive production in Game 2. Horford was a complete non-factor in Sunday’s 107-88 loss for the Celtics, mustering just four points and going 1-for-4 from the floor. The Warriors took Horford out of the game on the offensive end, especially in the first half with Horford attempting zero shots over the opening 24 minutes.

The Warriors made the necessary adjustments to put the clamps on Horford in Game 2, including having Klay Thompson and Draymond Green primarily split the responsibilities of defending Horford after Green shouldered most of that load in the opening game of the series.

Thompson guarded Horford for two more minutes in Game 2 than in Game 1, according to NBA tracking data, and Thompson revealed the keys to the Warriors game plan in regards to defending Horford.

“Al killed us that first game,” Thompson told reporters during his media availability Tuesday, per NBC Sports Boston. “I think him and (Derrick) White were instrumental in their victory. So, when I play a big guy like that, you got to get underneath him kind of because they can shoot over the top of you. Use your quickness.”

Thompson was about to go on further about the Warriors’ defensive approach against Horford, but realized he was giving away some secrets that might help the Celtics veteran big man combat Golden State’s efforts.

“And gosh, I don’t want to give away too much of the scouting report,” Thompson continued. “Just use your quickness and play that physical brand of defense that Draymond was playing. That kind of propelled us to a victory, and we followed his lead. I think that force was key.”

While Thompson did his part in defending Horford, Green certainly was the ultimate defensive difference-maker in Game 2. Green guarded Horford for 3:10 of playing time in Game 2, and the Celtics scored just four total points during those possessions. Green also matched up well on Jaylen Brown, holding him to 2-for-7 shooting, per NBA tracking data.

Horford will look to get back on track in front of the TD Garden crowd for Game 3 on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.

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