Blakely: With everything on the line, Horford leads the way

Blakely: With everything on the line, Horford leads the way

BOSTON -- At the half of Wednesday night’s Game 5 matchup, the Celtics were on high alert.
They had built a nice lead, but there was no doubt Washington was gearing up for a second-half comeback.
Al Horford sensed this and did what great leaders do.


He spoke to his teammates, reminding them they were in good shape and that they needed to stay the course. If they did, he told them, they would walk out of the TD Garden with a 3-2 series lead.
“We were kind of falling apart at halftime and Al kept everyone together and told us that if we continue to play the same way and have a great third quarter, we can have a chance to win the game,” recalled Avery Bradley.
When Horford talks, his teammates listen.
Horford’s assessment was spot-on. The Celtics didn't let up and steadily pulled away for a 123-101 Game 5 victory that has them one victory away from the Eastern Conference finals.
And while Bradley’s career night (29 points) was certainly memorable -- not to mention vital to the win -- Horford’s halftime spiel might have been the most important moment for the Celts all night.
Because at this point in the playoffs, the mental aspect of playing is as important, if not more important, than the physical.
And that’s where Horford has excelled, not only in Boston but throughout most of his basketball career.
He’s a smart player who has been a problem for the Wizards most of this series. And he seems to be getting better, more impactful, the deeper it goes.
But that's no surprise. At the University of Florida, Horford was an integral part of a Gators squad that won back-to-back national titles. When the Hawks selected him with the third overall pick in the 2007 draft, little did they know that he would be the driving force behind a franchise that went to the playoffs in each of his nine seasons in Atlanta.
And now he's a key factor in the Celtics being on the verge of closing out the Wizards.
“Al brings so much to this team,” Bradley said. “He’s a veteran leader. He’s been in this position before and, oh man, I just really enjoyed playing with him; he slows the game down for everyone. To me, he’s almost like another Isaiah [Thomas] on the floor. He’s another point guard, another guy that can lead us and he’s very vocal.”
And in Game 5, Horford made his presence felt both on the floor and within the team’s locker room. Scoring, rebounding, defending, blocking shots, passing . . . Horford gave the Wizards the business in every sense of the word.
He had 19 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds with 3 blocked shots, the kind of playoff performance no Celtic has achieved since 1984.
Said Horford: “Yeah. I’m just trying to play the right way. When I’m getting my chance to shoot and if not I’m passing the ball, just playing the game.”
And leading; don’t forget about leading, Al.


'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

AP Photo

'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

Former Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis was arrested last month in a hotel room in Aberdeen, Maryland, with more than 126 grams of marijuana and more than $92,000 in cash.

Davis, 32, who played on the Celtics 2008 championship team was last in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015, was arrested Feb. 7 after the hotel owner at the Aberdeen Hampton Inn smelled marijuana coming from Davis' room, WMAR-TV in Baltimore reported.

“They recovered 126 grams of marijuana,” Aberdeen Police Lt. William Reiber told WMAR. “In addition to that, there was a briefcase that contained 92,164 dollars of U.S. currency along with a ledger that contained language which is consistent with someone involved in the sale and distribution of narcotics.”

Davis is charged with seven counts of drug possession and distribution.

Police said the strains of marijuana were from a Los Angeles wholesaler that court records show Davis told police he was in business with.

He told officers he was visiting family in Maryland. Davis' attorney told WMAR the former Celtic (2007-11) adamantly maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court next month to clear his name. 


Horford helps Celtics get back on track

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Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Aggressive Al Horford was on the floor Friday night for the Boston Celtics, a good sign for a Celtics team that has been battered by injuries. 

As the oldest member of the team, the 31-year-old’s leadership has to become more example-driven as well as existing in the spoken word.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST  - Smart's importance to C's, dissecting the East

Horford was on point for most of Friday’s 92-83 win over Orlando, a game that was far more lopsided in Boston’s favor than the final score might indicate.

The 6-foot-10 forward/center had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. 

What was more telling was that Horford took a team-high 18 shots from the field, as clear a sign as you will find that Horford’s mindset on Friday was to attack Orlando’s defense early and often. 

And while it’s true that the Magic are one of the worst teams in the NBA, that doesn’t diminish the way Horford executed the plays called by head coach Brad Stevens as Horford played the role of primary scorer more often than usual, instead of being a major facilitator.

Having missed Boston’s previous two games, Horford was admittedly concerned if the lay-off might affect his conditioning. 

“Wind-wise I felt good,” Horford told reporters after Friday night’s win. “A little rusty on offense. But defensively I felt great. I felt our team came out with energy; just a good win.” 

A win that became a lot easier to get with Aggressive Al on the floor. 

 Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s 92-83 win over Orlando.



Terry Rozier: He continues to provide the Celtics with really solid guard play, with all-star guard Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) missing. Rozier had a game high-tying 17 points along with seven rebounds and five assists. 

Greg Monroe: The third quarter was when Monroe really began to take over the game. He finished with 17 points, 10 of which came in the third. 

Shelvin Mack: Not a lot to cheer about for Mack and the Magic who once again struggled in so many phases of the game. But Mack still managed to score 16 points. 



Al Horford: Having missed the two previous games, Horford was back in full force on Friday. He had 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting to go with nine rebounds

Boston rebounding: The Celtics control of the glass began from the outset and never really eased up. For the game, Boston grabbed 55 rebounds compared to just 40 by Orlando. 



Fourth-quarter Celtics: The only real blemish on an otherwise impressive performance by Boston, was the team’s overall play in the fourth quarter. Boston was outscored 31-17 and turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter.