OAKLAND, Calif. – Beating the Golden State Warriors is a daunting task for any team.
But the challenge won’t be quite as great for the Boston Celtics who will welcome the return of Al Horford to the starting lineup.
The 6-foot-10 Horford missed Boston’s two previous games due to a right (shooting arm) elbow injury.
But the four-time All-Star declared himself good to go tonight against the Warriors.
“I’m excited to get back on the court tonight,” Horford told reporters Wednesday morning.
Horford, who has missed 14 games this season, understands all too well that the Celtics are a significantly better team when he plays than when he has to sit out due to injuries or illness.
“As much as I can, I want to be out there,” he said. “You know I want to be out playing. I don’t want to miss any games. I’m just happy that I’m able tonight to get back and get ready to go.”
Said Isaiah Thomas: “Hopefully he does play. He’s got a high basketball IQ, he knows how to make the right plays and a really good defender. Everybody knows what he brings and we need that.”
This season, Horford is averaging 14.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.
His injury against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday could not have come at worst time for Horford.
After having failed to reach double figures scoring in Boston’s previous five games, Horford broke out of the funk against the Lakers with a 17-point night on 8-for-12 shooting from the field.
When Horford is on the floor, Boston is a +3.2 this season which is second among Celtics to Jae Crowder which is +4.1.
And the dip (-0.3) when he’s off the floor is the second-largest drop with Crowder (-1.2) once again headlining Boston’s plus/minus numbers.
The bottom line is Horford’s presence and impact do more than just give the Celtics another healthy body to throw out there, but he’s a player with tremendous value whose return tonight can do nothing but help Boston’s chances at knocking off the highly regarded Warriors.