Al Horford struggles against Anthony Davis - Who hasn't lately?

Here are Anthony Davis' stats for the past 15 games, followed by his stats from the game versus Celtics last night:

36.5 MPG - 32.1 PPG - 13.0 RPG - 2.1 SPG - 3.4 BPG - 53.4% FG - 30.2% 3's - 89.5% FT

32.6 Min. - 34 pts. - 11 reb. - one steal - one block - 58.3% FG - 0/3 on 3's - 75.0% FT

Doesn't seem that a greatly-depleted Celtics crew did much worse than any other team against Davis. Al Horford graciously (isn't he always?) acknowledged a lot of blame for his struggles and the loss to the Pelicans. Anthony Davis has been an absolute basketball demon in his last 15 games. The Brow is one of those rare players that come along only once in a decade. A combination of supreme talent, great size, high-level athleticism, speed, quickness, terrific basketball IQ, etc. Who can guard all of that?

For a Celtics team without an official captain and presently with two starters (Kyrie Irving & Jaylen Brown), one would-be starter (Gordon Hayward) and two critical back-ups (Daniel Theis & Marcus Smart) out with injuries, Al has taken a lot on himself. Granted, he has been struggling of late, but so has the rest of the team.

Last night, Boston was missing the motor that drives the team (Irving) and three fearless defenders with the size and ability to defend most opponents. And who knows what would have happened with the Master-of-all-basketball-skills Hayward in the fold.

My name is Tom, and I am a died-in-the-wool Star Trek fan. The episode, The Empath, portrayed an alien that assimilated the feelings, maladies and injuries of others. Sounds like Horford to me. Here is Trait #10 of an empath (per HuffingtonPost's Judith Orloff MD):

10. Empaths have huge hearts but sometimes give too much
Empaths are big-hearted people and try to relieve the pain of others. A homeless person holding a cardboard sign, “I’m hungry” at a busy intersection; a hurt child; a distraught friend. It’s natural to want to reach out to them, ease their pain. But empaths don’t stop there. Instead, they take it on. Suddenly they’re the one feeling drained or upset when they felt fine before.

One thing I almost forgot to mention is that Brad Stevens has had to change his lineups and his strategies. He lost one important big man in Theis. He has had to go with two bigs at a time, one of which is limited defensively (Greg Monroe - worst team defensive rating last night) and another who is limited offensively (Aron Baynes - no points last night).

Al Horford is the unofficial Captain of the team, and much of the offensive and defensive action goes through him. He takes a hit for many of the Celtics losses and probably not enough credit for the wins. Al needs some help, and his teammates, at least some of them, will be back.

Gene Roddenberry, the producer of Star Trek, also wrote many scripts for the terrific TV series, Have Gun - Will Travel, starring Richard Boone as the heroic gentleman gunfighter, Paladin. As the injured troops return, I believe we will see a transition with Horford moving on somewhat from his empath role to a that of gentleman hero - no apologies needed.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports
Paladin card image via Wikipedia