There was point in the first half when the Boston Celtics were in deep need of a shot to be made.
Al Horford drained a long two-pointer, and then followed it up with a 3-ball.
And in the second half when the Brooklyn Nets tied the game at 60, once again it was Horford who came up with a much-needed basket for the Celtics.
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“That takes some real stuff to be the guy that stops runs,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s game. “That’s a good thing.”
It certainly was for Boston as Horford once again helped pave the way for a Celtics victory as they pulled away in the second half for a 111-92 win.
Horford continues to put up the kind of numbers that Celtics fans have not seen from a player in decades.
He finished with 17 points, five rebounds, eight assists and two blocked shots – numbers he has reached in each of the Celtics’ last three games.
The last time a Boston player had 17 or more points, five or more rebounds, eight or more assists and at least two blocked shots in three consecutive games, it was done by some guy named Larry Bird back in 1990.
There were many who questioned why the Celtics offered up a king’s ransom for Horford, a four-time All-Star.
But now that he’s back in the mix after missing nine games due to a concussion, the four-year, $113 million contract he signed with Boston looks like money well spent.
You can count Avery Bradley among the Celtics players who appreciate all that Horford has brought to the floor for Boston this season.
“Al can score the ball. But it’s all the little things that he does and how he gets the ball moving; it’s so contagious,” Bradley told reporters after the win.
During time-outs, Bradley recalled how Horford would be on the players to keep the ball moving and they would respond accordingly.
The Celtics have been among the NBA’s leaders in assists this season and following Wednesday's 26-assist night, they now find themselves ranked sixth in the league with a 23.8 assists per game average.
“He’s a leader; he speaks up,” Bradley said of Horford. “Sometimes the ball sticks. For Al to say something and us actually go out and move the ball around and it starts with him, it means a lot.”
One of the keys to Horford’s success not only in the NBA but also with the Celtics, has been his willingness to continually focus on improvement not only for himself but also his teammates.
Boston’s defense has been playing on an elite level the last few games, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider they began the season ranked near the bottom in several categories.
But with that improved play, Horford is quick to acknowledge that he and the Celtics have room for significant improvement.
“We can be good but right now we have to be better,” he told reporters after Wednesday’swin. “Transition defense is something we need to keep addressing. There needs to be a more sense of urgency from all of us.”