Al Horford - the Celtics' Resurrected Saviour of the Season

NomarsFool

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 21, 2001
8,008
If you need to have one of them on the court at all times and they both need rest, I am still puzzled by the 2BIGZ starting lineup. Maybe we will see that less this season, we will see.
 

chilidawg

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 22, 2015
5,780
Cultural hub of the universe
If you need to have one of them on the court at all times and they both need rest, I am still puzzled by the 2BIGZ starting lineup. Maybe we will see that less this season, we will see.
Seems like Brad is okay with trying to get one of Kabengele/Kornet/Vonleh to emerge as a 3rd guy, and then if that doesn't pan out look for someone at the deadline. I don't think GW is the answer there.
 

Jakarta

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 18, 2020
241
Any chance the plan is just to play big lineups at all times and have rim protection be something of a luxury that is mostly deployed against first units? They can play a bench lineup with Gallinari, Grant, and Tatum and 2 guards and be really strong defending the perimeter and good/big enough on the boards against other teams’ second units. Come playoff time, at least one of TL and Al can be on the court at all times, but they don’t need to force the issue too much in the regular season. Depth during the regular season should be a strength. I hope they find ways to take advantage of what they have and force other teams to guard 5 perimeter threats, rather than worrying about who guards the other teams backup big man.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
19,801
Santa Monica
If you need to have one of them on the court at all times and they both need rest, I am still puzzled by the 2BIGZ starting lineup. Maybe we will see that less this season, we will see.
IME will be careful/flexible with Al/TLs minutes.

If Kornet + Co fail miserably, it's something Brad can address during the season, buyout window, or trade deadline

Even usable BIGz likeTrez & Whiteside remain unsigned. There will be veteran 5s available if need be...
 

Jimbodandy

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2006
11,246
around the way
Everyone costs incremental big bucks at this point, so I think that they're going to wait for better options via trade or buyout. They'd have signed guys like Trez or Whiteside if they were interested.

Worst case scenario, they buy high on one of those guys later (or via trade) if Al or TL has something catastrophic happen to them.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
19,801
Santa Monica
Everyone costs incremental big bucks at this point, so I think that they're going to wait for better options via trade or buyout. They'd have signed guys like Trez or Whiteside if they were interested.

Worst case scenario, they buy high on one of those guys later (or via trade) if Al or TL has something catastrophic happen to them.
100% correct. While it isn't "our money" & Wyc has greenlit Brad's spending spree, realistically the tax multiplier really limits full TPE use

The good news is 3rd string BIG is the one position that can easily be kicked down the road. If a "catastrophic injury" felled one of TL/Al, then an experienced, defense-first Center like Poeltl would be attractive.

PBS could start the season with 14 on the roster + 2 two-way players getting emergency minutes if need be. Thus saving a roster spot for a buyout.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
21,301
Pittsburgh, PA
Horford's second half of that game might've been the best he's played this entire season. He impacted Embiid more than just about anyone in the league has done this year, he executed on offense, made some outside shots, made other deflections and steals, stayed out of foul trouble (no moving-screen offensive fouls!), helped on defense without getting burned (maybe he got burned once? I might be confusing him with some others)... he was just an absolute menace on the floor. If he can play even close to that level in the remaining games of this series, we're going to crush.
 

Eddie Jurak

canderson-lite
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
44,111
Melrose, MA
Horford's second half of that game might've been the best he's played this entire season. He impacted Embiid more than just about anyone in the league has done this year, he executed on offense, made some outside shots, made other deflections and steals, stayed out of foul trouble (no moving-screen offensive fouls!), helped on defense without getting burned (maybe he got burned once? I might be confusing him with some others)... he was just an absolute menace on the floor. If he can play even close to that level in the remaining games of this series, we're going to crush.
Him being 37 is a concern here.
 

Saints Rest

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Horford's second half of that game might've been the best he's played this entire season. He impacted Embiid more than just about anyone in the league has done this year, he executed on offense, made some outside shots, made other deflections and steals, stayed out of foul trouble (no moving-screen offensive fouls!), helped on defense without getting burned (maybe he got burned once? I might be confusing him with some others)... he was just an absolute menace on the floor. If he can play even close to that level in the remaining games of this series, we're going to crush.
If they won yesterday, all the talk today would be about Al shutting down Embiid in the 4th (and getting deep inside his head).
 

Euclis20

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
7,811
Imaginationland
We saw Horford turn the clock back a couple of times during last year's playoffs, and it seemed like he usually disappeared the following game. Game 4 against Milwaukee (when he dunked on Giannis) he scored 30 points, then scored just 8 in the following game. Game 1 against GS, he scored 26, followed by just 2 points in game 2. Yesterday was obviously less about his scoring than his defense, but it wouldn't shock me to see him look a bit older than usual in game 5. Hopefully the 3 is dropping.
 

128

Member
SoSH Member
May 4, 2019
9,911
Al's defense is the reason he's playing 40 minutes a night. He's the only good matchup they have for Embiid. Scoring is a bonus.
Yeah, but when he's hitting from the outside, it amps up the Garden crowd and takes the C's to another level. Plus, it's deflating as hell for the Sixers.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
29,857
Yeah, but when he's hitting from the outside, it amps up the Garden crowd and takes the C's to another level. Plus, it's deflating as hell for the Sixers.
For better or worse, it seems like the Celtics understand that Al can't give them 40 excellent minutes at both ends, and they've chosen defense.
 

NomarsFool

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 21, 2001
8,008
I think the Celtics have correctly decided that Horford needs to keep taking those 3s, even if he's missing all of them. It seems to be an unfortunate streak right now, but he'll continue to miss every shot until he makes one. Some people mock it, but he needs to keep shooting.
 

128

Member
SoSH Member
May 4, 2019
9,911
I think the Celtics have correctly decided that Horford needs to keep taking those 3s, even if he's missing all of them. It seems to be an unfortunate streak right now, but he'll continue to miss every shot until he makes one. Some people mock it, but he needs to keep shooting.
He'll start making them again. He always does.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
29,870
I'm predicting a big Game 7 from Al.
Never has the old adage, "Don't let the first one go down" been more applicable than in G7. It would change how the Sixers approach defending him and could give him the rhythm/confidence to knock down 4-5 more. It's a HUGE part of a low possession and low scoring G7. Huge.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
26,833
Newton
We have two days off. Please, please, go take 300 3PAs over the next two days.
Wrong. Take five sleeping pills, dream of doubling Joel Embiid for two straight days, wake up fresh as a daisy Sunday morning, kiss your wife and give her flowers, and then exact revenge.
 

Minneapolis Millers

Wants you to please think of the Twins fans!
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,753
Twin Cities
Also, I want the plan to be to suffocate Harden. Press him, get the ball out of his hands. Frustrate the sh!t out of him early.

And I want more ball movement on offense.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
21,301
Pittsburgh, PA
This thread feels more appropriate than the other one to celebrate Al. Without him absolutely stealing the soul of Joel Embiid these last two games, with no small contributions against the rest of the opposition either, Tatum never has a chance to go off tonight. We go home wondering what the hell happened in Game 6. Those were two championship-level games he played, Thursday and today.

Savior of the season, indeed.
 

Curtis Pride

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 25, 2005
1,340
Watertown, MA
Per NBC Boston’s Chris Forsberg, over the final six quarters of the second round series, Horford was the primary defender on Embiid for over half of Philadelphia’s possessions. He held him to 38.8% shooting (31-of-80) with eight blocked shots.

Also, this:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S5Ri6hcCnw
It seems that Tatum electing to draw Embiid on offense freed up Horford on a lesser defender and opened up the other shooters after passing to him inside. So either Tatum blew by Embiid for a dunk or layup, or he passed to Horford or other passer en route to the open shooter. I know "primary assists" are counted, but I wonder how many of these "secondary assists" Tatum had.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
21,301
Pittsburgh, PA
I meant Horford's relative lack of pointz leading to him being so underrated.

Horford's kinesthetic genius is awareness and versatility. He can do so many different things on the court, and organize a defense through communication in a way that is just invisible to stats and always will be. But it jumps off the screen in clips like that, where our whole defense is moving in sync so much you'd think it was a Riverdance video. Here's his perimeter defense, knowing where to funnel his guy to get help. Here's his post defense, and times when he goes 1:1 with his help not cheating too far off their guy, and other times when his help comes and they attack to win the ball. Here's his instincts on when to go for a strip, or when to strongly resist a push vs give ground and set his feet for the next move. Here's his hustle help, and how he doesn't close out too hard and is able to recover and affect the next drive. Here's his spacing on offense, here's his drive-and-kick. That's a 3-minute video, and in those 3 minutes we got about 20+ different Horford looks, almost none of them were the same.

We could easily do the same thing with Smart, except Smart's defensive plays and hustle plays are just more obvious in real time. He's not a subtle player, so people "get" him easier, I think. Watching Horford is a bit more like watching what Shane Battier could do defending Kobe Bryant. You pick any single clip and it looks like nothing unusual, you look over the course of the game and Kobe gets plenty of points, but if you really break it down play-by-play you see how much he's affecting the eFG% that Kobe has, and stripping off points-per-possession by forcing him to less-comfortable spots, and just giving his team a better chance to win. And if I'm not mistaken, it was identifying and encouraging that which was one of the first distinctions in Daryl Morey's career as GM in Houston.
 

bakahump

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 8, 2001
7,472
Maine
Not bad for an old over the hill power forward who was uninterested in banging centers down low.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
19,801
Santa Monica
I meant Horford's relative lack of pointz leading to him being so underrated.

Horford's kinesthetic genius is awareness and versatility. He can do so many different things on the court, and organize a defense through communication in a way that is just invisible to stats and always will be. But it jumps off the screen in clips like that, where our whole defense is moving in sync so much you'd think it was a Riverdance video. Here's his perimeter defense, knowing where to funnel his guy to get help. Here's his post defense, and times when he goes 1:1 with his help not cheating too far off their guy, and other times when his help comes and they attack to win the ball. Here's his instincts on when to go for a strip, or when to strongly resist a push vs give ground and set his feet for the next move. Here's his hustle help, and how he doesn't close out too hard and is able to recover and affect the next drive. Here's his spacing on offense, here's his drive-and-kick. That's a 3-minute video, and in those 3 minutes we got about 20+ different Horford looks, almost none of them were the same.

We could easily do the same thing with Smart, except Smart's defensive plays and hustle plays are just more obvious in real time. He's not a subtle player, so people "get" him easier, I think. Watching Horford is a bit more like watching what Shane Battier could do defending Kobe Bryant. You pick any single clip and it looks like nothing unusual, you look over the course of the game and Kobe gets plenty of points, but if you really break it down play-by-play you see how much he's affecting the eFG% that Kobe has, and stripping off points-per-possession by forcing him to less-comfortable spots, and just giving his team a better chance to win. And if I'm not mistaken, it was identifying and encouraging that which was one of the first distinctions in Daryl Morey's career as GM in Houston.
+1. Al really does it all on and off the court. The entire team looks up to him.

Philly fans must scratch their heads wondering why they sold Horford for pennies on the dollar. Just went back and looked at his stats, they were pretty much in line. Doc & Morey moved on from Al pretty quickly after they were hired. :oops:
 

TripleOT

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 4, 2007
7,721
Tatum and Co exploited Embiid defensively in a way that AL would probably have adjusted to.

BTW, what does Harris give them next to Embiid that AL can’t give them. All can be a highly paid, non-dynamic scorer too, but with more defensive chops
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
11,748
+1. Al really does it all on and off the court. The entire team looks up to him.

Philly fans must scratch their heads wondering why they sold Horford for pennies on the dollar. Just went back and looked at his stats, they were pretty much in line. Doc & Morey moved on from Al pretty quickly after they were hired. :oops:
It's worse. They didn't sell him for pennies on the dollar; they paid dimes to sell him. They sent OKC their protected 2025 1st, and between that and the Harden trade, don't have a 1st round pick available to deal until 2030.
 

Reverend

for king and country
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2007
63,491
It's worse. They didn't sell him for pennies on the dollar; they paid dimes to sell him. They sent OKC their protected 2025 1st, and between that and the Harden trade, don't have a 1st round pick available to deal until 2030.
It’s a process…
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
26,833
Newton
Tatum and Co exploited Embiid defensively in a way that AL would probably have adjusted to.

BTW, what does Harris give them next to Embiid that AL can’t give them. All can be a highly paid, non-dynamic scorer too, but with more defensive chops
So you’re saying that Philly chose Harris over Butler AND Al?
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
29,870
+1. Al really does it all on and off the court. The entire team looks up to him.

Philly fans must scratch their heads wondering why they sold Horford for pennies on the dollar. Just went back and looked at his stats, they were pretty much in line. Doc & Morey moved on from Al pretty quickly after they were hired. :oops:
My recollection of that years Sixer version was that it was an awfully structured lineup that forced Horford and Harris to defend smaller players on areas of the floor that they weren't accustomed. I remember thinking how Horford sold out for the money, which I 100% support anyone for doing, but was in an awful situation.
 

TripleOT

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 4, 2007
7,721
So you’re saying that Philly chose Harris over Butler AND Al?
Philly clearly chose to pay Harris instead of Butler. When both were on the roster in 2019, they were a crazy bounce away from making the Finals. Philly chose to pay AL instead of running it back with Butler and Harris, or paying Butler and AL while moving on from Harris, or paying Butler, moving on from Harris, and going in a different direction for another starter.

Philly then chose to dump AL after one season. When Simmons was still a functional NBA player, it wasn’t as important for Harris to be able to cover 4s and have some versatility to his game. In hindsight, Horford’s floor spacing, defense, leadership, and ability to play center when Embiid is out would have been a better roster fit than Harris.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
41,938
AZ
Really felt like Al was at his best when the Celtics needed it the most on Sunday.

It ended up a blowout, but there was definitely a period in the first and second quarters where it felt as though there were a few possessions where the Celtics were in danger of losing contact. You like to think that the second half would have played out the same, but if the Sixers build a 14 point lead or whatever, who knows. Pressure builds. You could make a case that Al was an anchor while the team found its footing.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
36,672
Hingham, MA
Really felt like Al was at his best when the Celtics needed it the most on Sunday.

It ended up a blowout, but there was definitely a period in the first and second quarters where it felt as though there were a few possessions where the Celtics were in danger of losing contact. You like to think that the second half would have played out the same, but if the Sixers build a 14 point lead or whatever, who knows. Pressure builds. You could make a case that Al was an anchor while the team found its footing.
IIRC he hit a 3 to bring it from 29-20 to 29-23 at the end of the first quarter
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
30,228
Tatum and Co exploited Embiid defensively in a way that AL would probably have adjusted to.

BTW, what does Harris give them next to Embiid that AL can’t give them. All can be a highly paid, non-dynamic scorer too, but with more defensive chops
If you recall, JT and JB roasted Al when BOS swept PHI in the playoffs. Thus the narrative that Al couldn't guard on the perimeter anymore. Turns out if that is the standard, almost no one in the Association can guard on the perimeter anymore.