The “Al”gebra of an Old Pro: Horford propels Celts into Round Two
Gripe if you must about his salary, but Al Horford showed up at the TD Garden for Saturday night’s Game 7 with the Bucks hungry. And he didn’t bother bringing his lunch pail, he was ordering ala carte – obviously, he chose the venison.
His appetizer was served on Milwaukee’s seventh possession of the game, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s first foray to the rim and third FGA. The Freak drove from the right and rose for a lay-up, Big Al shadowing his every step and rising himself with both hands aloft.
As Giannis unraveled his right arm to shoot, AH said, “No, no, Gadget!” while swatting the ball off the backboard – with his left hand, mind you – and igniting a Jayson Tatum breakout and two FT’s.
A tone was set – Al’s dinner would soon be “done to a turn!”
And the Buck’s stud would soon be swatting balls into the wrong goal.
While he was struggling with his shooting (1 – 5 from the field, 0 – 2 on FT’s), Jaylen Brown was putting out some stout, in-your-face defense, utterly frustrating both Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker in a stretch of four possessions.
Poor Jabari was on the receiving end of a rather stiff Marcus Smart personal shortly thereafter.
It seemed as if Coach Stevens’s halftime advice was to beat ‘em up inside. During the pre-game show, Kenny Smith had recalled Houston Rocket coach Rudy Tomjanovich demanding that Olajuwon get early touches on the block; KC Jones had similar requirements for the Chief.
The C’s veteran post attempted five of Boston’s first nine shots in Q3 – connected on every one. The accurate post shooting was contagious, as Aron Baynes missed but one of his five attempts on the night and even found bottom with one of his odd-looking hooks early in Q4.
The body-punching of the paint pounding opened up the three-game, Morris and Tatum delivering back-to-back daggers in Q3’s closing stages.