Horford says he's still 'not there yet', may not play Wednesday

Horford says he's still 'not there yet', may not play Wednesday

WALTHAM, Mass. -- There’s still a chance that Al Horford will return to the Boston Celtics’ lineup for Wednesday’s game against Dallas, but the four-time All-star didn’t sound too optimistic. 
“On the court, times I’ve been on I felt good with my workouts,” Horford said after fully participating in Tuesday’s practice. “It’s just that to play, I’m just not there yet.”
And there’s no real sense that will change between now and the Mavericks game.

Horford fully participating in Tuesday's practice provided no real insight into how close he is to returning to action. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, citing the team's return to Massachusetts early Tuesday morning following their 106-105 loss at New Orleans, said the team held a very light practice today. 

"We did some film, did a little five-on-0 work and then a little bit of jog-through, almost like a shoot-around," Stevens said. "He (Horford) was able to do it all."

And after practice, Horford spent time on the floor with assistant coach Jay Larranaga working on an array of low-post moves, set jumpers and free throws.

While those are certainly steps in the right direction, Horford's return remains uncertain which he acknowledges has not been easy to deal with. 

“I’ve been very motivated to come back. This is just something that’s very different,” Horford said. “I haven’t dealt with anything like this before, so I… we’re really taking it day by day. That’s just all I can do right now.”
Despite Horford’s absence, the Celtics have shown signs of improvement in his absence particularly on the defensive end of the floor. 
Boston has won two of its last three games and rank among the NBA’s top teams defensively during that span. 
“We’ve been really good on the defensive floor if you take the last three games and compared it to the NBA season,” Stevens said. 

But as good as they have been lately, they would be a lot better with Horford whose return to action remains very much up in the air. 
Isaiah Thomas is among the Celtics who knows all too well just how valuable Horford is to Boston’s overall success this season. 
“Hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later,” Thomas said. “Can’t mess with the head.”
Horford has appeared in three games this season for Boston, averaging 12.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.

Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

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Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

There hasn't been all positive news surrounding Gordon Hayward as of late.

The Celtics have been shooting down rumors of Hayward returning this season. Recent news has detailed a minor setback in his recovery.

But it's always good to see the C's superstar up early crushing a workout in the weightroom.

We might not see him back in 2018, but his dedication during recovery is something to admire.


Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

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Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

It seems all season we’ve talked about the Boston Celtics overcoming adversity, whether it be a bad injury to a key player or a blown assignment leading to a loss.

Nowhere is this more apparent than their play on the road this season which ranks among the best in the NBA.

The Celtics will look to continue on their road warrior-like ways tonight at New Orleans, a team that’s fighting for playoff position in the tighter-than-usual Western Conference.

In recent years, the terrain has been rough for teams from the East venturing into Western Conference territory.

For this year’s Celtics?

Not so much.

Boston comes into tonight’s game with a 17-7 record against Western Conference teams, tops among all teams in the East.

And while Boston has eight road games left this season, they are on pace to finish with one of the best road records in franchise history.

Currently 24-9 away from the TD Garden (tops in the East, third overall in the NBA), that’s a winning percentage of .727 which is the fourth-highest in franchise history.

Here are five under-the-radar story lines to keep an eye on when the Boston Celtics take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.


It’s a given that Al Horford will spend time defending Anthony Davis tonight. And while Davis will likely have a strong night scoring the ball, you can count on Horford making it extremely tough on him. When the two teams met on Jan. 16, Davis was 8-for-19 shooting for 16 points in 52 possessions when defended by Horford. For the game, Davis had 45 points on 16-for-34 shooting.


We’ve seen “Playoff" Rondo and “National TV" Rondo deliver some impressive performances in the past. What will we see from “Well-Rested” Rondo? The Pelicans gave the ex-Celtic the night off on Saturday as to not play him in back-to-back games. Of the two games, it made sense to sit him against the Rockets and have him ready to roll against a Boston Celtics team that will not have its full complement of players available.


Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had some choice words about the officiating in New Orleans’ 107-101 loss to Houston on Saturday that he clearly felt cost his team a better chance at winning. The only cost in play now is how big will the check be that he’ll pay the league for his comments about the officiating. His issue was that Anthony Davis doesn’t get enough calls based on the physical abuse he takes per game. Davis ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw attempts (7.8) per game, but only had four attempts against the Rockets. It’ll be worth watching whether the Pelicans, 16th in the league in free throw attempts (21.4) per game, will get to the line significantly more or less than their season average.


One of the keys to Boston’s improved play since returning to the floor since the all-star break, has been their ability to begin games with strong play. Boston has outscored their opponent in the first quarter each of the last eight games, and 10 of 11. In addition, Boston has been ahead at the half in each of their 10 games since the all-star break, which comes on the heels of trailing at the half in the seven games prior to the break.


Jayson Tatum has been one of the most impactful rookies in the NBA this season which will likely land him a spot on the NBA’s all-rookie first or second team. One of the strengths of Tatum has been his durability, evident by him being one of just two first-year players to appear in each of his team’s games played this season. He is joined by Memphis’ Dillon Brooks.