Al Horford becomes the unlikely hero of the Celtics’ dominating fourth quarter in Game 1

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Al Horford is, in fact, good. What he did in Game 1 of the NBA Finals was greatness.

On a night the Warriors made life difficult for Jayson Tatum, who ultimately couldn’t rise to the challenge, Horford and others seized the opportunity in the fourth quarter of Game 1, scoring a furious comeback that went downhill. resulted in a superb victory of 12 points. . Horford scored 11 of his 26 points in just 5:10 of regulation time, including an eight-game point streak after the Cs tied the game.

The Celtics never looked back from there. Horford handed it to Marcus Smart on Boston’s next possession, and Smart drained three more. Smart would hit yet another triple on the next possession, continuing the Celtics’ relentless punch. It was all part of a blistering 17-0 run midway through the quarter.

As the consummate professional and teammate that he is, Horford was quick to credit others and praise the Celtics’ complete team effort in the final 12 minutes.

“It was the way we moved the ball in attack, just being in those positions,” Horford said after the game. “I felt like the guys kept finding me every time. Derrick White also landed some hard shots there. Yeah, it was just to look, knock them down, that’s it .

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Horford didn’t really have to go out of his way to compliment his teammates’ effort. White scored 21, including 13 in the second half, and shot 5 of 8 on 62.5%. Jaylen Brown carried the first half of the Celtics’ comeback, with 10 of his 24 points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.

But Thursday night was another example of Horford’s surprising ability to pull off big moments for the Celtics. They may not survive the series relying on that kind of effort throughout, but Horford’s timely excellence has complemented his leadership presence for much of this playoff series. He struck that delicate balance again in the opener of the final, keeping his teammates focused and leading by example with his late game execution.

“Just keep playing. That was our message throughout the game,” Horford said. “It’s such a good team. And for us, it was just, you know, keep playing no matter what. And our guys, that’s what we did.

“It wasn’t our best Gamebut we kept fighting and finding different ways to get that win.

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