Everything Al Horford brings to the Celtics in 7 plays

Boston, MA - 5/10/2017 - (2nd quarter) Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) muscles up after his shot in the second quarter.   The Boston Celtics host the Washington Wizards in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals at TD Garden.  -  (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section:  Sports, Reporter:  Adam Himmelsbach, Topic:  11Celtics-Wizards, LOID:  8.3.2444148030.
Al Horford had reason to flex his muscles and feel good in Game 5 vs. the Wizards. –Boston Globe

It may have seemed like Al Horford didn’t miss during Boston’s 123-101 win over the Washington Wizards Wednesday night, but he did.

Once.

Horford made eight of his nine shots from the field in Game 5, his lone missing coming on a 3-pointer with 8:36 remaining in the 3rd quarter. You could be forgiven for marveling at Horford’s dead-eye shooting and 19 points — I mean just look at how down-the-middle these shots are:

But if you watched the game, you know Horford’s scoring only tells part of the story.

Blocked shots

After two games of getting physically outplayed in DC, the Celtics were the aggressors in Game 5, leading Wizards tough guy Markieff Morris to say simply, “They beat our ass.”

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Much of that should be credited to Horford, who blocked three shots in the win. Unlike in Games 3 and 4, the Wizards couldn’t get anything easy at the rim. Here’s Horford blocking John Wall on a layup attempt in the first quarter of Game 5, leading to a run out for Avery Bradley:

Horford did the same thing in the second quarter. Watch how he tracks Wall here, staying on his feet until the last possible moment so he can contest:

#blockparty

Passing

One thing Celtics fans have seen all year from Horford is exquisite passing, and he continued to throw dimes in Game 5. Here’s Horford grabbing a Wall miss in the first quarter and finding a streaking Thomas ahead of the field:

Horford wasn’t afraid to post up Marcin Gortat in Game 5, which allowed him to both get his and find cutters, like Bradley here:

In the third quarter, Horford did what he does best: quarterback the offense. Here, he directs traffic and finds a cutting Bradley, who hands it off to a cutting Amir Johnson, who lays it in:

Finally, here’s a simple basketball play — the give and go — executed perfectly by Horford and Jae Crowder:

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The Celtics had 33 assists in the game, 7 of which came from Horford.

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