Joel Embiid won’t give Boston Celtics center Al Horford any props for keeping him in foul trouble and rendering a 9-of-22 shooting night out of him during a 112-109 Celtics win at the Wells Fargo Center.
“He’s not doing anything,” Embiid said when asked about being guarded by Horford, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I was sleep-walking for three quarters, and that’s on me.
“Like I said, that’s on me. It had nothing to do with anybody.”
Horford, who is generally happy playing the role of anchor in the starting lineup, tied Embiid for 23 points on the night, shooting 9-of-16 from the floor and sprinkling in eight rebounds, five assists and four steals on the night.
Embiid meanwhile was mired in foul trouble, and as usual, struggled to shed a tactical Horford, who kept the big man from going to the line more than four times for the first instance since a coastaway Sixers win over the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 17.
Horford and the Celtics have done everything to prove this is yet to become a rivalry with the Sixers, as they cruised to a 4-1 series win in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season and now boast a 3-0 lead in the regular-season series. Winning seven of their last eight games.
Whether Embiid wants to credit Horford or not, the Celtics’ big man has done his part in keeping him grounded and unable to explode for big-time performances.
If the Sixers hope to make a splash in the postseason, figuring out the Horford puzzle would be a great start to line out with one regular season game left between these two teams.