The Boston Celtics fought valiantly Thursday evening during their do-or-die Game 5 against the Miami Heat. Their efforts ultimately proved to be successful, as the league's second seed finds itself living to fight another day.
Though the usual suspects of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were the driving forces from a production standpoint, as they combined for a whopping 42 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds, it was evident that veteran big man Al Horford spearheaded the charge from an energy and hustle perspective during his 29 minutes of action.
Following the contest, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla was asked during his post-game media session what the 36-year-old provided on the court, where, in response, he gave a glowing review about his seasoned power forward.
“Everything he does is an intangible that you can't measure. Just his leadership and his physicality and his attention to detail defensively is big for us,” Joe Mazzulla said of Al Horford.
Coming into the must-win affair, Al Horford had found himself in a bit of a rut from a consistency standpoint. Despite his individual excellence and stellar impact throughout the regular season, during Boston's current playoff run, the big may be best described as an up-and-down contributor.
In Game 5, however, even with his 0-for-3 shooting performance from deep, it was evident right from the jump that the Celtics leader was looking to do just about anything to help his team win.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Horford had registered a solid stat line of 6 points, 11 rebounds (5 coming on the offensive glass), 1 steal, and 1 block while sporting a plus-minus rating of +18. His two-way efficiency and impact on the hardwood has been seen rather few and far between this postseason. In Game 5, it was a welcomed sight to see and, hopefully for Boston's sake, it will find itself spilling over into Saturday's Game 6 down in South Beach.