Al Horford wants Boston to keep its focus even in blowout situations
The Boston Celtics had an unexpectedly tight contest against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, before pulling out a 129-120 victory. The 24-46 Hawks continued to chip away at Boston’s lead all game and accounted for the third-straight game in which Boston has allowed at least 120 points. Center Al Horford knows what it takes to make deep runs into the postseason and he saw Saturday’s win over his former squad as a learning experience for down the stretch run, via ESPN:
“For our group it’s just making sure we keep our focus throughout even when the game is supposed to be out of reach. This proves any team can get into it.”
The Hawks boast a young nucleus, but are averaging 112.8 points per game, which is tied with the Celtics for the fifth-highest mark in the Eastern Conference.
Horford himself logged 28 minutes during the win, finishing with nine points, six rebounds and three assists, not deviating from his preferred minutes range. The Celtics’ defensive anchor has seen just 28.7 minutes per game this season, which is on pace to be the lowest of his career, but at 32 years old, figures to help keep him fresh for what the team hopes is an extended playoff run.
There aren’t likely to be many blowouts come the postseason, but the importance of closing out wins when given the chance is paramount. The Celtics currently own the No. 5 seed in the East, although they remain just a game and a half back of the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 spot.