Thirty-five-year-old Al Horford became the oldest Boston Celtics player to have 30 points in a playoff game. He played 42 minutes scored a playoff-career high 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and was a team high +20 in the Celtics’ Game 4 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. The best-of-seven series is now tied at 2-2.
Horford played like a spry 20-something all night. His highlight play came as he drove by two-time MVP and defensive player of the year Giannis Antetokounmpo on a close-out, drove to the rim for a dunk and got an and one on Giannis. He let out a scream and on his follow-through knocked Giannis to the ground.
The veteran was stoic when asked about the play in his postgame media availability.
“Big play, very emotional,” said Horford. “It got us going even more.”
The Horford dunk was payback. Just a few minutes prior Giannis dunked on Horford and let out a little taunt. The Bucks superstar was issued a technical but it clearly ignited Horford who was already having a good game.
“I didn’t make out what he said, but the way he looked at me didn’t sit well with me,” Horford said. “That got me going.”
At times in this series Horford has been the best player for the Celtics. When the Celtics reacquired him from Oklahoma City, it looked like a nice end-of-career story.
Nobody, except maybe Horford, saw this coming.
He’s been great all year, but we really needed him to step up with guys being out,” said Celtics head coach Ime Udoka following the game. “He took that on his shoulders.”
Horford is shooting 50 percent from three this series (14-28). He’s a career 36 percent shooter from deep, but the Bucks’ defensive philosophy is to eliminate paint scores and give up threes. The hope is a career 36 percent shooter can’t keep up this torrid pace.
But it’s not just offensively where Horford has been dominant. He’s played great individual and team defense. He understands angles and is very strong.
According to StatMuse, Giannis is 15-49 (30.6 percent) when guarded by Horford this series. In Game 4 when Horford was the primary defender on Giannis, Horford held the Bucks All-Star to 4-for-12 shooting.
As the series shifts to Boston for Game 5, the Celtics have regained home court advantage and the series now becomes a best-of-three. The Celtics have also seized momentum and have limited the Bucks offensively down the stretch. lol
To find out more about how 30 is the new 20 for Boston Celtics center Al Horford, click here.