It is quite possible that Celtics center Al Horford entered Boston’s Game 3 win over the Philadelphia 76ers with some added motivation.
Who are we kidding? That’s exactly what happened.
Just hours prior to the pivotal Eastern Conference semifinals matchup, while the Celtics were at shootaround, Horford made a comment that he was an elite shooter. This makes sense, as only five players in the entire NBA finished with a higher three-point percentage than the C’s center. Well, someone must have forgotten to tell one of the reporters at Horford’s scrum, as someone laughed following the statement, leading to a stern statement from the veteran.
His teammates didn’t like it either.
“Whoever laughed at him earlier, shame on you,” Jayson Tatum said postgame.
A statement didn’t seem to be enough, however, as Horford put his shooting chops on full display in Game 3.
The 36-year-old finished 5-for-7 from three-point range in the Celtics win, setting some NBA-best marks along the way. After the performance, Horford now has the most three-point makes by a center in NBA postseason history, the most games with five three-point makes as a center and is the oldest center to connect on five threes in a game.
The performance was huge in Boston’s effort to outlast a dominant Joel Embiid, and drew praise from Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, who wants more of that from his center.
“I love when Al shoots the ball and shoots it with confidence and doesn’t hesitate,” Mazzulla said postgame, per NBA-provided video. “We need him to be aggressive, confident. He’s a huge piece to our team, our locker room, everything. I think he’s getting really good looks and I don’t think he’s hesitating.”