The big-man shot 8-for-12 from the floor, with two three-balls, for 22 points, ten rebounds, five assists, and two blocks and steals a piece. Al's fingerprints were all over this game. But even in spite of being the best scorer for the C's throughout the game, he wasn't looking to take the game winner:
Al Horford on buzzer beater: Coach (Brad Stevens) called a play for Jaylen (Brown) and I and then as he’s calling it, he’s like, ‘Keep the ball, keep the ball and we’ll score.’ They read it perfectly because I wanted to hand him the ball and they stayed very tight to him."
Horford's tendency to pass the ball was a huge part of how the C's got into the position to win the game. Just minutes earlier, he found Semi Ojeleye and Jayson Tatum in the corner on back-to-back possessions to tie the game up at 85. That's probably why the Blazers guarded Jaylen Brown so closely on that final play. Instead, Horford himself punished Portland, and Boston walked away with another win.
Now, the Celtics ride into Toronto with a two-game lead over the Raps for first in the Eastern conference. Horford and the C's will look to continue the momentum they've gathered in the absence of Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart to extend that lead and coast into the All-Star break ready to take on the second half of the season.
Follow Topher Lane on Twitter, @Topher_L. Photo credit: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images