Horford drills game-winner at buzzer, C's beat Blazers, 97-96

Horford drills game-winner at buzzer, C's beat Blazers, 97-96

BOSTON – When the Boston Celtics were making their comeback in the second half against Portland, it was Al Horford leading the charge. 

So when the Celtics needed a bucket to steal the victory, they turned to – you got it – Al Horford.


And Big Al delivered when it mattered most, draining a fadeaway jumper as the final horn sounded to lift Boston to a 97-96 win. 

Horford led the Celtics with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds along with five assists. 

For Portland, the Blazers were led by their dynamic backcourt of C.J.McCollum and Damian Lillard who had 22 and 21 points, respectively.

Boston opened the fourth quarter with a 6-2 spurt that tied the game at 75, only for the Blazers to bounce back with six straight points. 

It was that kind of game for the Celtics, who were in close-but-not-close enough mode most of the game against a Blazers team that like Boston, had won four of its previous five games coming into today’s matchup. 

Boston found themselves in catch-up mode from the outset, as Portland opened with a 15-10 run and led 26-19 after the first. 

The Celtics climbed back into the game, and were within one possession, 39-36, following a powerful drive and dunk by Horford. 

But the Blazers responded with a 15-2 run to lead 54-38 at the half. 

The Celtics knew Lillard and  McCollum were going to be problems, as well as Jusuf Nurkic.

But Mo Harkless?

The former St. John’s star, whose alma mater knocked off Duke this weekend, was having a big night for the Blazers and was indeed the difference-maker in the first half with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting.  He would finish with 19 points off the bench.

But as we’ve seen with the Celtics all season, they have made a pretty good living off of comebacks with the early goings in the third quarter looking as if they were intent on adding another chapter to the season-long narrative. 

Boston opened the third with a 10-2 run to come within 57-48 following a jumper by Jaylen Brown. 

Portland called a time-out with 7:57 to play in the third, pushing its lead back to double figures following a 3-pointer by Al-Farouq Aminu.

Boston had multiple chances to take the lead in the third, with Terry Rozier having a trio of misses that would have put the Celtics ahead. 


Daniel Theis, a 78 percent free throw shooter this season, missed a pair with Boston trailing 68-67 at the time. 

Portland eventually made the Celtics pay for the blown opportunities as they closed out the third quarter by scoring five of the last seven points to lead 73-69 going into the fourth. 


Kyrie is not happy with Zaza Pachulia

File Photo

Kyrie is not happy with Zaza Pachulia

The Celtics defeated the Knicks in a game that had a little bit of everything Saturday night.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics to victory and dominated in all of the important situations.

But he came out of the night a little pissed off.

During the Warriors-Thunders game tonight, Russell Westbrook drove to the paint and fell to the ground.

After Westbrook fell to the ground Zaza Pachulia appears to intentionally fall on to the back of his legs.

The play irritated Irving enough for him to air out his thoughts publicly on Instagram.


Celtics will need Kyrie to keep delivering a little bit of everything

Celtics will need Kyrie to keep delivering a little bit of everything

It was fitting that Kyrie Irving flirted with a triple-double in Boston’s 121-112 win over New York. Because as Boston focuses on finishing out the regular season well, they’re going to need Irving to deliver a little bit of everything.

And he did just that as Boston (42-19) has strung together back-to-back wins coming out of the all-star break, looking and playing like a very different – and better – team than the one we saw prior to the break which lost three straight and four of five.

Irving finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, with most of his damage coming in the third quarter when he scored 15 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.

“The basket was still the same, the ball felt the same,” Irving told NBC Sports Boston following the Celtics win. “Probably leaving my fingers a little bit different; and on back-to-backs, getting my legs a little bit. So, just had to get it up a little more and see it go in once or twice, go to the free throw line and stay composed.”

Indeed, even as the Knicks put together one surge after another, Irving seemed to have an answer whether it’s driving to the basket and knocking down a big shot, or penetrating the Knicks defense and find a teammate for an easy basket whether it be a lay-up or a lob to Jaylen Brown for a dunk.

He gave the game what it needed.

And on this night, the game needed him to give a little bit of everything.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 121-112 win over the New York Knicks which was the Celtics’ sixth win in their last eight appearances at Madison Square Garden.


Kyrie Irving: When it comes to picking one’s spots when to dominate, there are few in the NBA better at this than Kyrie Irving. He was hands-down the best player on the floor Saturdaynight and was on the cusp of a triple-double before finishing with 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Trey Burke: For those who thought Trey Burke’s NBA career was good as buried, think again. After flaming out with the Utah Jazz and the Washington Wizards, Burke appears to have rediscovered his game in New York. For most of the night, he was New York’s best option scoring the ball. He had 26 points in just under 27 minutes of court time, connecting on 10 of his 19 shot attempts.


Jaylen Brown: Irving’s backcourt mate was a problem all game for the New York Knicks. Jaylen Brown had a couple of nice dunks, jumpers and an overall strong night on several levels. He had 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field.

Al Horford: This was a very solid, workmanlike game for the five-time All-star. He tallied his 14th double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds in addition to three blocked shots.  


KNICKS 3-POINT SHOOTING: The numbers for Boston’s 3-point defense look a lot better than they played courtesy of New York missing some good looks from deep. For the game, the Knicks were just 6-for-22 shooting on 3’s.