Horford showing he's a vital cog in Celtics' success

Horford showing he's a vital cog in Celtics' success

BOSTON – When you talk to NBA folks about Al Horford, they speak of his leadership and willingness to do whatever is required in order for his team to be successful.

Often that has meant sacrificing parts of his game because it was in the best interest of the team.

But as we get deeper and deeper into this season, it’s becoming clearer that the Celtics need the "no-holds-back" Al Horford who tends to fill up the stat sheet in several categories and maybe just as important, significantly impacts winning.

Monday’s matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks was one of those games, a game in which Horford once again flirted with a triple-double in helping lead Boston to a 111-100 win over the Bucks.


Horford continued to play at a highly efficient level, scoring 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting to go with nine rebounds and eight assists.

“He’s been really good,” said head coach Brad Stevens of Horford.

For the season, Horford is shooting 55.9 percent from the field along with connecting on a career-best 44.6 percent of his 3-pointers.

Horford's shooting touch has been red-hot lately, connecting on at least 53.3 percent of his shots from the field in each of Boston’s last five games.

“I think it’s just the work I’ve been putting in,” Horford said. “It’s starting to pay off for me.”

And the Celtics (21-4) who currently have the best record in the NBA.

As good as Boston has been thus far, players and coaches are unanimous in believing that they’ve only scratched the surface of this team’s potential.

And the play of Horford will have a lot to do with that growth.

“It’ll just continue to get better,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving.

As far as Horford is concerned, Irving added, “He’s just shooting the right shots and being aggressive, and him getting more comfortable with where his shots are coming from and being able to adjust on the fly. We want to be aggressive and he knows that.”

And maybe more important, he’s showing it with his play that has been a vital cog in the Celtics’ success this season which has not only padded their win total but also brought about increased respect from foes.

“They are a really good team and from start to finish they play hard,” said Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo. “They play together so with a team like that, you have to be disciplined on defense and keep playing hard.”

Said Stevens: “He’s playing at a good level.”


Celtics assistant McCarty to become coach at Evansville

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Celtics assistant McCarty to become coach at Evansville

BOSTON – The first member of the Brad Stevens’ coaching tree is about to take off. Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty is expected to be named head coach at Evansville University.

McCarty, an Evansville, Ind. native, was selected over a field of candidates that included former Indiana University standout Calbert Cheaney and David Ragland who, like McCarty, is an Evansville native.

The 6-foot-10 McCarty, a 10-year NBA veteran with seven-plus spent with the Celtics, has been part of Stevens’ coaching staff since 2013. The former Celtic has been a college assistant coach at Louisville (2007-2010) in addition to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers (2010-2011).


NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

NBC Sports Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.