If the Boston Celtics didn’t escape Memphis with a 112-109 overtime win Tuesday night, a lot of attention would have been paid to Al Horford’s missed shot around the rim as time expired in regulation.
“It was a perfect play,” Horford told reporters after the game. “I probably sealed Tony (Allen) too low because when I caught it I was under the rim.”
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- Thomas' career-high 44 points lead Celtics to 112-109 OT win vs. Grizzlies
And with so little time remaining, Horford naturally rushed his shot which couldn’t quite climb its way over the rim.
But overtime provided Horford with another shot at redemption and he made the most of it in helping Boston (16-12) get what is clearly their biggest win of the season.
The Grizzlies (18-12) have been the league's best at finding ways to win close games.
They came into Tuesday's game with a 12-1 record in games that were within three points or less with a minute or less to play.
Of course Isaiah Thomas' career-high 44 points was a big part of Boston's signature win this season.
But Horford came up with his share of plays that kept the Celtics in the game and eventually propelled them to victory.
In the fourth quarter with Boston trailing 85-84, Horford had his lone blocked shot of the night which immediately triggered a Celtics fast break opportunity that ended with an Avery Bradley lay-up.
But maybe the biggest play of the game by Horford came with 30 seconds left in overtime and the Celtics clinging to a 107-106 lead.
Coming out of a time-out, the Celtics got the ball to Horford on the block. He backed down Memphis’ Jarell Martin and lofted a right-handed hook shot towards the rim that took a few bounces before splashing through the net.
That would be the final points of the night for Horford who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
Horford was asked about whether he locks in even more after something goes wrong like the lay-up he missed at the end of regulation.
“You tighten up, focus, and try and finish the game and get a win,” Horford told reporters. “That’s what we did.”