Finally, for the first time this season the Celtics had the whole band together for last nights 94-92 win in Detroit. The C's went 12 games without having all of their key pieces in place, and they floundered to a mediocre .500 record to start the season. We finally got to see this team operate at full capacity, and they did not disappoint.
Al Horford made his presence felt early and often last night, and when the game was on the line he was right there to make sure the Celtics were handing the Pistons their first loss at home this season:
Al Horford puts up the go-ahead bucket, then comes through with the crucial block for the @Celtics! #Celtics pic.twitter.com/ubG2VXQ9Ve— NBA (@NBA) November 20, 2016
I could watch that block on loop for hours. He essentially made the game winning play on both ends of the court, NBD. Horford was doing a little bit of everything last night, as if he wanted to make up for all the lost time all in one night. Outside shooting, rebounding, defense, efficiency...it's all there:
+17 in a game you ultimately won by 2 is pretty incredible. When you combine the preseason and the few regular season games Horford has played in green, his impact stands out even more:
Think he makes a difference?— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) November 20, 2016
2016-17 Celtics (Pre + Reg season)
Horford on the court: +101 (206 min)
Horford off the court: -69 (754 min)
The C's have spent the majority of time this season trying to outscore their opponents rather than force their will with hard-nosed defense and hustle - which has been their signature the last couple of seasons. The returns of both Horford and Jae Crowder will go a long way in shoring up that side of the floor. From that dumpster fire against Golden State on Friday, to what happened last night in Detroit, it's been quite a rollercoaster of emotions for Celtics fans the last 24 hours.
People yesterday: AL HORFORD WON’T FIX EVERYTHING.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) November 20, 2016
Today: OK, maybe he will.
Isaiah Thomas knows just how important both Horford and Crowder are to the success of this team. After the game he spoke on just how important their returns were. Via Taylor Snow of Celtics.com:
“We needed it,” said Isaiah Thomas, who logged 24 points and eight assists during the win. “We needed both of those guys bad. Not just on the defensive end but on the offensive end too.
“It’s great to have those guys back. They’re a little rusty because they’ve been out for a little bit, but I don’t think anybody could tell.”
No sir, we could not tell. Here's Horford on how he felt after the game:
“I felt really good,” Horford said of his physical state. “[It was] very frustrating these last few weeks, dealing with a lot of different things, but finally I was at the point that I felt good enough today that I was ready to play.”
With matchups this week against Minnesota, Brooklyn, and San Antonio looming on Friday, we'll find out quickly if the Celtics can get the train rolling now that they've got a full bid of health.
Live look: Celtics health meter. pic.twitter.com/96QT2iAnAg— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) November 19, 2016
Photo Credit - Celtics.com
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Mark Allison 11/20/2016 10:57:00 AM Tweet Edit