Al Horford is the talk of the basketball world after his 16-point blitz in the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks led the Boston Celtics to a crucial 116-108 Game 4 win in the playoffs. Horford played in a way that we hadn't seen from him in years. What's even remarkable is that he did so while taking the challenge of being guarded by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It seems Horford's performance was motivated by a disrespectful staredown by Giannis after a dunk. He spoke about it in the post-game press conference as well, saying that he didn't appreciate being stared down like that. He ended the game with 30 points.
Horford's sister, Anna Horford was active on Twitter and saw a clip of her brother staring back at Giannis after the Greek Freak dunked and was running back on defense. That's the moment she knew her brother was about to do something incredible.
Horford's eyes look straight through Giannis. We haven't seen an individual player respond to Antetokounmpo in such a manner, especially in the playoffs. Usually, teams set up walls or multi-player defensive coverages to slow down Giannis. However, Horford decided it was his burden and he played off rage to have the quarter he had to lead his team to a win.
Jayson Tatum also contributed to the win with his stellar performance in the fourth quarter, as the Celtics' offense became genuinely unstoppable.
Horford has been one of the most consistent players for Boston this playoff run as his contributions against the Nets were also greatly appreciated by his teammates and fans alike. The question is, can this be sustainable? The Celtics have been rotating Horford with Robert Williams and Grant Williams, but it seems Horford may be the most reliable of them all. He proved he can be the X-Factor in a crucial win, so hopefully, Horford can keep finding ways to motivate himself and perform like this.