Jrue Holiday Praises Al Horford After Celtics’ Game 4 Win: ‘He’s Built For It’

On the grandest platform in sports, the Boston Celtics continue to prove why they are the most talented team in the NBA. The Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-102 in Game 4 to clinch the road sweep in Ohio and establish a 3-1 lead.

Holiday Praises Horford After Celtics' Game 4 Win

Even though the team was missing standout guard Donovan Mitchell and center Jarett Allen, Boston still managed to absorb the most of Cleveland’s blows. Despite facing challenges from a gritty opponent, the Celtics were able to display their composure thanks to outstanding performances by their role players.

The Celtics have benefited greatly from the impactful star tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. All across the roster, though, the club performed admirably. The impact that Al Horford has made, standing in for Kristaps Porzingis when he was injured, has gone unnoticed. Guard Jrue Holiday of the Celtics praised Horford’s contribution to the team in an interview with the media after the team’s victory.

“[Horford] is progressing well. I trust Al to shield me from Garland when he gets past me, and he has done so in every game. Al handles everything. When Mobley is on him, he is open for the three, and he has to make those shots, which he has been making fairly well. He is the anchor defensively. Al is a man built for the demands we place on him.” – Jrue Holiday

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Although they don’t appear on the stat sheet, role players like Horford and Holiday have just as much of an influence as the Celtics’ top box score producers.

Horford has a net rating of +32 through the first four games of this series. Horford was incredible in the first-round series against the Miami Heat, finishing with a +50 net rating in all five games. He has recently had difficulty shooting the ball, going 4-16 in the last two games, missing his last ten three-point attempts. Still, his defensive impact deserves much recognition.

Horford’s Influence Exceeds the Box Score

Al Horford has been essential to the Celtics’ postseason success.It goes without saying that Horford is going through one of his worst offensive slumps to date. Having played both of his Celtics careers and as the standout player for the Atlanta Hawks, he is no stranger to performing in front of the biggest crowds. But Horford has taken up the defensive duties to the best of his abilities after making a surprise move into the starting lineup after Porzingis’ injury.

The Boston Celtics survive the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-102 to take a  commanding 3-1 series lead - Yahoo Sports

After the Celtics defeated the Cavaliers in Game 4, Horford advanced to 20th place all-time in the NBA Playoffs with 216 blocked shots. Darius Garland and other Cleveland ball handlers occasionally pursued Horford in the pick-and-roll. When he was in the middle of that action, he struggled on some possessions, but his presence in the paint gave the perimeter defenders confidence to play aggressive defense knowing they would still be covered if they were beat.

Holiday’s admiration for Horford says a lot about the team spirit here. One important thing that set Boston apart from other teams vying for the championship this season was that they made it a point to support one another instead of kicking a teammate when they’re down.

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