Chad Finn: 3 thoughts on Al Horford’s thunderous Game 4 dunk

Al Horford howls after he dunked on the Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo in the fourth quarter. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Question: How many times have you watched the highlight clip today?

Ten times? Twenty? Thirty-five going on 36?

Do I even need to identify the highlight I mean? Right, of course, that one, obviously: Al Horford’s Giannis-shaking, momentum-shifting, thunderous driving slam (plus the foul) with just under 10 minutes left in Game 4 Monday night.

With all of the successes of Boston’s assorted sports teams this century, we’ve been blessed with so many perpetually rewatchable moments. I’d say the two I’ve watched the most through the years are Malcolm Butler’s to save Super Bowl XLIX and Dave Roberts’s steal in Game of the 2004 American League Championship Series. There are probably a half-dozen extraordinary others I’m forgetting.


Horford’s dunk, the signature moment from his masterful 30-point performance,  will never approach the historical magnitude of those two plays, even if the Celtics do end up collecting Banner 18 this season. But no matter how this series and this season ultimately play out, it’s always going to be a joy to watch, again and again.

I’ve seen it maybe 25 times since the end of the Celtics’ 116-108 victory Monday night, and I just wanted to take the opportunity here to commemorate a couple of details that show up upon repeated viewing .. or, at least, a couple of things I didn’t notice initially.

So let’s call this Three Things You Notice When The Horford Dunk is Playing on a Loop on Your Television, Phone, and In Your Mind …

I’m still not sure how he blew past Giannis so easily: The play began with Horford ripping down a rebound and passing to Marcus Smart, who returned the ball to Horford on the right wing when they were in the halfcourt. Antetokounmpo was glued to Horford, if overplaying him slightly to the right. Horford upfaked (and it wasn’t exactly a vintage Larry Legend fake), ducked his shoulder … and smoked Giannis like he was Jabari Parker or another defensively challenged forward of your choosing. Just an incredibly strong and explosive first step by a 35-year-old guy against the most explosive athlete in the league.

Payton Pritchard is a quality hype man: When the usually chill Horford let loose with a few screams and fist pumps, Pritchard was the first one there to pump him up. Pritchard hasn’t played great in the last couple of games, but he has been fiery. I do wish TNT cameras had panned to the Celtics bench, though. Grant Williams and Nik Stauskas in particular seemed to be going nuts. And you know Malik Fitts was having a good time.


Grayson Allen was no help: It’s pretty hilarious, actually. Allen made the executive decision to get out of Horford’s way when he saw him launching toward the hoop. Then, as Giannis sprawled on the court like he was awaiting a chalk outline, Allen didn’t bother to try to help him up. He was probably puzzled to see someone prone on the court that he didn’t put there with a trip.


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