Celtics

Al Horford says Celtics stars still feeling each other out offensively

Al Horford says Celtics stars still feeling each other out offensively

NEWPORT, R.I. – Kyrie Irving averaged 25-plus points per game as LeBron James’ wing man last season. Gordon Hayward pumped in 20-plus a night in leading a revitalized Utah Jazz team to the second round of the playoffs last season. 

And then there’s Al Horford who does a little bit of everything offensively that collectively adds up to a lot of wins for whatever team he suits up for. 

With so much talent offensively, scoring will be a breeze, right? 

“I know people can say, ‘you’ve played with them over the years’ or, ‘you’ve played against them over the years’ and things like that,” Horford told CSNNE.com. “But it’s not the same when you try to work together and figure things out. So really getting to know these guys, figuring out what they like, their spots on the court. It’s only five practices, but you start to get a sense of how they want to play.”

Having an offense that’s functioning at a high level involves many players, including Horford who will at times initiate the Celtics’ offense out of the post. 

Last season, the Celtics ranked among the NBA’s leaders in a number of offensive categories. 

When it came to scoring, Boston’s 108.0 points per game ranked seventh in the NBA. Boston’s higher-than-usual point production was fueled in large part by the Celtics’ 3-point shooting with Boston being ranked third in both 3-point field goals made (12.0) and attempted (33.4).

One of the big keys to Boston offensively this season will be Horford.

At 6-foot-10, Horford has the size to play center which he will at times this season. But he shoots the ball well enough to where you can’t just leave him open beyond the 3-point line. And while last season his job was to primarily seal off his defender and allow the guards to swoop in for rebounds, he knows that Boston will need him to be more of a rebounder for them this season. 

“One of my things is always leading by example,” Horford said. “Making sure that I’m helping the guys in any way I can so they feel comfortable in the offense. It’s forcing us to be more vocal on the offensive end. It gets us talking; it gets us more engaged and it’s a good habit to start building. Sometimes when you are playing, you lose all that once you get into games. That’s one of the things we need to do, keep talking with each other and continue to play through mistakes.”

Agent doesn't expect Gordon Hayward to return this season, but foresees full recovery

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Agent doesn't expect Gordon Hayward to return this season, but foresees full recovery

PHILADELPHIA --  Only hours removed from surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and fractured fibia injury, Gordon Hayward’s agent tells NBC Sports Boston that his client is already attacking the rehab process.
 
“We expect him to have a full recovery,” agent Mark Bartelstein said via phone Thursday.
 
That said, Bartelstein also noted that it’s unlikely that the 6-foot-8 forward will return to action this season.
 
“We don’t have a timetable or anything like that for him,” Bartelstein said. “It’s about getting better, healthier every day.”
 
The Celtics released a statement Thursday afternoon indicating Hayward underwent successful “bony and ligamentous stabilization surgery for the fracture dislocation of his left ankle.”
 
Performing the surgery was Drs. Mark Slovenkai and Brian McKeon at New England Baptist Hospital, with Dr. Anthony Schena assisting followed by consultations with Dr. David Porter of Methodist Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.
 
Hayward suffered the injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday when he was attempting to catch a lob pass from Kyrie Irving.
 
On the play, Hayward landed awkwardly on his ankle, which contorted in a way where it was clear immediately that he would be out of action for a significant amount of time.
 
Since the injury, Hayward has received an amazing amount of outpouring of well-wishes and prayers from Kobe Bryant, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and a cast of other current and former athletes. Both Edelman and Gronkowski know all too well about the challenges associated with returning to play after an injury.
 
"Go into rehab just like you go into anything else: dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you’re 100 percent. He wouldn’t be where he is now if he wasn’t a hard worker.”
 
And then there are the Celtics fans, whose support has been impressive.
 
Hayward delivered a pre-recorded message to the fans at the TD Garden that was aired on the Jumbotron high above half court prior to Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee. Even after the video ended, there was no escaping Hayward’s presence was still very much in the building and on the minds of fans.
 
At one point in the 108-100 Celtics loss on Wednesday, Boston fans began a “Gor-don Hay-ward!” chant that soon swept its way throughout the TD Garden.
 
“It has been a bit overwhelming the amount of support that Gordon has received,” Bartelstein said. “It touched him in so many ways. The outpouring he got, certainly all the fans in the arena last night, from players around the league … it meant the world to him. And obviously, going through something like this, it’s devastating. So, to see so many reach out to him, it means the world to him and his family; there’s no doubt about it.”