The Boston Celtics will once again be shorthanded with Al Horford out of the lineup for tonight’s game at Miami.
Horford, who missed nine games earlier this season because of a concussion, did not travel with the team due to his wife giving birth to their second child.
“We are very happy for him,” Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas told reporters on Monday morning in Miami. “That’s what’s most important to be there with his family.”
However, Horford’s absence will certainly have a negative effect on the Celtics tonight when they face the Miami Heat.
“No excuses,” Thomas said. “We’re gonna miss Al, but hopefully he’ll be back soon.”
The Celtics would like that, especially when you consider how different the team is when Horford plays.
With Horford in the lineup, the Celtics are 5-2 this season. And his impact can be felt at both ends of the floor.
Offensively the Celtics have a scoring margin of +3.7 with Horford, and -1.7 without him while shooting 47.1 percent with him but only 43.1 percent when he’s not available.
And defensively, teams have shot 42.2 percent with Horford playing and 45.0 percent when he doesn’t.
There’s no getting around the fact that tonight’s game, already challenging, will be that much tougher for the Celtics to win without Horford.
“It makes it more challenging when you miss and all-star like Al Horford, going up against anybody,” Thomas said. “Everybody knows he makes the game a lot easier for everyone else on this team. We’ve just gotta figure out ways to try to sneak one out of here.”
This season, Horford has started seven games averaging 14.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and a career-high 5.1 assists while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 37.5 percent on 3s.