OG Status | Al Horford Is Giving The Celtics Unexpected Clutch Production In NBA Finals

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Boston Celtics Center Al Horford is having an underrated playoff run. He hasn’t been a crazy scorer, but he’s had games where he has displayed the ability to turn the clock back and get crucial buckets for his team.

His defense has been world-class and his ability to stretch the floor for the well-rounded Celtics has proven to many that he is an asset at the ripe age of 36. In his first-ever Finals appearance Horford has been scary good for his role on the team.

The Dominican Republic native finally reached his first NBA Finals after playing for more than a decade in the NBA. Before reaching this career peak, Horford had the most playoff games played without a finals appearance in NBA history, and after making the NBA Finals he was more than elated to get that monkey off his back. 

But this wasn’t just any mere career-long journey to the NBA Finals. Horford has been one of the league’s most consistent stars who fell victim to playoff meltdowns, LeBron encounters, and becoming a trade asset for many teams, moving around the league constantly.

Since being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick in the 2007 draft, Horford has at times been a star, and has made the playoffs for 13 seasons of his 15 in the league, missing it during one down year in Atlanta in the 2013-2014 campaign and his only year in OKC where he did a short stint with the Thunder after being traded to them in 2020.

After the Thunder dealt Horford to Boston in the offseason, Horford was glad to be back on the team he called home for three seasons, one of which he was an All-Star in 2017. But to be traded back to the Celtics, and then be able to make this run as the second seed in the Eastern Conference was bewildering.  

Everyone in the Celtics locker room was ecstatic for Horford, whom they all felt was the most deserving of this Finals appearance. 

Nobody deserves it more than this guy on my right, right here,” Brown said while sitting next to Horford on the podium after the Game 7 win in Miami.

“His energy, his demeanor, coming in every day, being a professional, taking care of his body, being a leader, I’m proud to be able to share this moment with a veteran, a mentor, a brother, a guy like Al Horford.” Brown continued.

Horford is not only one of the most patient players in the game, but he’s one of the best teammates and mentors, and just by listening to how his team rallies around him making the Finals demonstrates how much he is loved by this team.

“Just to see how happy he was to get to this point … I felt like I had been playing forever, finally getting over that hump, and it’s like, I’ve only been doing this for five years. It’s his 15th year,” Tatum said before Game 1 of the Finals.

With all of this support, and Horford’s long awaited Finals appearance, it’s no surprise that in the Finals, and all throughout the playoffs, Horford has been balling out on both sides of the ball.

The Center has been averaging 12 points, 1.5 blocks, and 9 rebounds per game in the playoffs, and in Game 1 of the Finals he exploded for 26 points and 6 rebounds to propel the Celtics to a win over the Warriors. 

With the series tied up 2-2 going back to San Francisco, it’s anyone’s championship to win at this point. Both teams have punched, gotten punched, and countered back.

Whether the Celtics capture the franchise’s 18th championship, or Steph Curry wins his fourth, Horford will be praised for the job he’s done helping a young, inexperienced team reach the Finals and navigate the toughest set of playoff opponents one could possibly face.

Horford continues to over deliver for Boston. With the series now in the desperation zone for both teams, he just might be the X-factor in the C’s winning the champioship.