Al Horford’s Career Night Leads to Celtics Win in Game 4


Matthew Willar '22

Al Horford at the free throw line in a game against the Phoenix Suns in December of 2021.

Matthew Willar '22, Co-Editor

On Monday, May 9, the Boston Celtics were faced with the biggest challenge of their season. Currently, in the second round of the playoffs facing the Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics were in need of a win. The Bucks were up in the series 2-1, and the Celtics did not want to see themselves in a 3-1 deficit. 

After a layup by Al Horford in Game 3 that was 0.1 seconds late to count, resulting in a Celtics loss, the team was determined to get back on track. Jayson Tatum only scored 10 points in Game 3, marking one of the worst playoff performances in his career. It was a very tough game to watch for Celtics fans. 

Going into Game 4, the Celtics needed to play with intensity, toughness, and a good mentality. It was announced Monday morning that Tony Brothers would be one of the referees officiating the game, an official that the Celtics have only won two playoff games with him officiating. The team also later announced that Robert Williams III was ruled out for Game 4 due to left knee soreness. 

On “Inside the NBA”, Shaquille O’Neal stated that in order for the Celtics to win this series, two of their players needed to “show up.”  What he meant by this is that Tatum and Jaylen Brown both needed to have great games. In the third quarter of Game 4,  Brown found himself in foul trouble when he picked up his fifth foul. The Celtics were in need of someone to step up. Horford, who was also in foul trouble with four fouls, stayed in the game. 

Going into the fourth quarter, the Celtics found themselves down seven. It wasn’t looking good for the Celtics, as the officials were giving Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo every call he wanted. Earlier in the game, Antetokounmpo received a technical foul for taunting Horford after dunking on him. Horford had enough. 

In the fourth quarter, Horford decided to take over for the Celtics. He scored 15 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, and got his revenge on Giannis by dunking on him and drawing the foul to get an “and 1”. There was really nothing stopping Horford from this point on. Horford eventually picked up his fifth foul, but Celtics Head Coach Ime Udoka decided to keep him in the game. 

Horford made 11 out of his 14 shots, which included 5 out of 7 of his 3-pointers. He also added eight rebounds to his 71.4% shooting night. This performance by Horford marks his best performance in the playoffs in his 15-year NBA career. His previous playoff record was a 25-point game in 2010 when he was on the Atlanta Hawks. 

Horford and the Celtics return to TD Garden tomorrow night for Game 5. The team looks to go up 3-2 in the series and to close it out in Milwaukee in Game 6. Game 5 tips off at 7:00 p.m. on TNT.