Morning Sports Update

Al Horford explained the exact moment ‘something switched with me’ in Celtics’ comeback

"I know that look," Anna Horford said of her brother. "He was pissed."

Al Horford Giannis
Al Horford stares back at Giannis Antetokounmpo after the latter's third quarter dunk in Celtics-Bucks Game 4. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Celtics rallied from a third quarter deficit to stun the Bucks and win Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in Milwaukee, 116-108. The series is now tied 2-2- heading back to Boston for Game 5 on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The Bruins are in Carolina tonight to play Game 5 of the first-round series against the Hurricanes at 7 p.m. The matchup is currently tied at two games apiece.

And the Red Sox are in Atlanta tonight for the start of a two-game set. First pitch gets underway at 7:20 p.m.

Al Horford’s motivation: When things looked bleak for the Celtics in Monday’s Game 4, it was Al Horford who stepped up for Boston.


The 35-year-old scored 16 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Celtics’ comeback charge.

Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when a game changes, causing a dramatic swing in the result. But for Horford and the Celtics, there was a specific moment in the third quarter when Horford found extra motivation.

With just under 11 minutes remaining in the quarter, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo drove past Horford and dunked emphatically as the Milwaukee crowd erupted.

In the aftermath, Antetokounmpo glared at Horford and had words for him. Later — after the game, and after Horford and Boston’s epic fourth quarter — the Celtics veteran explained what that did for him.

“I don’t really know what he said to me, but the way that he was looking at me and the way he was going about it really didn’t sit well with me,” Horford said of Antetokounmpo.

“And I think at that point, something switched with me in the game.”

Though it didn’t happen immediately (as Milwaukee continued to lead for the rest of the third quarter), Horford’s intention was set. He willed Boston back into the game, either tying the score or giving the Celtics the lead on three separate occasions in the fourth quarter.


The most memorable of those sequences came when Horford reversed the earlier circumstances by dunking on Antetokounmpo.

It was another game-altering play, as Marcus Smart noted afterward.

“The energy changed once that happened,” Smart said of Horford’s emotional dunk.

In retrospect, handing Horford extra motivation backfired on Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Horford became the oldest player in Celtics history to score at least 30 points in a playoff game as Boston scored a crucial road win to tie the series.

Horford’s sister, Anna, correctly identified the change in her brother’s demeanor.

“This is where the Bucks [f*****] up,” she tweeted, citing the video of Antetokounmpo’s earlier dunk on her brother. “I know that look. He was pissed.”

Trivia: Al Horford helped Florida win back-to-back NCAA titles when he was in college. What school was the most recent to win back-to-back men’s NCAA basketball championships prior to Florida’s 2005-2006 run?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: The losing coaches in those national championships were Roy Williams and Steve Fisher.

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On this day: In 1999, Nomar Garciaparra swatted three home runs, including two grand slams, in a 10-RBI night. Propelled by Garciaparra’s career night, the Red Sox routed the Mariners, 12-4.

Daily highlight: Jayson Tatum hit a seemingly impossible shot in the Celtics’ Game 4 win.

Trivia answer: 1991-1992 Duke


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