Al Horford’s ‘Massive’ Adjustment Continues To Benefit Celtics

'He's done a great job this year'


March 1

Al Horford did his part during the offseason to remain effective for the Boston Celtics and it paid off yet again during Wednesday night’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With the Celtics seeking a response to their bottom-of-the-barrel showing against the New York Knicks on Monday, Horford provided a much-needed spark. Courtesy of his offseason focus on outside shooting, which he’s displayed all season long, the 36-year-old netted each of his first six 3-point attempts, the most through his 16-year career.

In doing so, Horford notched his fifth double-double on the campaign, scoring 23 points alongside 11 rebounds in 33 minutes for the Celtics. That contribution, accompanied by Horford’s offseason determination, didn’t go unnoticed by head coach Joe Mazzulla.

“It’s massive,” Mazzulla said postgame. “He’s done a great job this year in recognizing coverage and screening. … And he recognized the coverage (the Cavaliers) were in and popped and shot it. The second time they tried to switch him, he created an advantage. He’s constantly trying to find small ways to reinvent his game.”

For most of Horford’s career, especially during his prime years with the Atlanta Hawks, much of his offensive contribution came from the post. Now during his final career stretch, Horford has relied on outside shooting to a much greater degree than ever before, averaging five 3-point attempts, his most over the course of a full season.

He averaged 5.4 shot attempts from beyond the arc in February, knocking them down at a 46.5% rate. And following the home win, Horford is shooting 44% on the year, his highest mark in 11 seasons.

“I think that when we make the right plays and we’re moving (the ball) like that, it opens the floor for everybody,” Horford said, per NBC Sports Boston video. “And guys are looking for me and I’m stepping up taking ’em.”

The C’s avoided a season series sweep with the 117-113 victory against the Cavs. Back in the win column, Boston will next prepare to square off against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. Tip off from TD Garden is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
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