Al Horford Gets a Break Against the Miami Heat

Al Horford finally gets a break from some of the most difficult matchups in the NBA

Al Horford has been the best player on the Boston Celtics so far this season, and part of that has been his ability to take on some of the most impossible front court matchups, ensuring that they could not destroy the game.

Horford has been tasked with guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo twice, Joel Embiid and Kristaps Porzingis. Antetokounmpo was still able to get his, but Horford’s ability to somewhat contain him in their second meeting is a huge reason they won.

As for the other two, Horford shut them down quite thoroughly, certainly as effective as anyone in the NBA is capable of doing right now.

Horford is showing off his defensive versatility, and has stepped up when the Celtics need it most. Now the Celtics get the Miami Heat on the schedule, and that usually means the front court matchup does not get any easier.

Hassan Whiteside is another one of the most unique and dynamic young bigs in the NBA, and even if he can’t score quite like the others, he has proven that he can take over games by himself, especially on the defensive end.

Whiteside would not have been the toughest defensive assignment that Horford has seen, but it is becoming clear that Horford is as important on offense as he s on defense, and taking Whiteside out will open everything up for Horford, and that will then make things easier for everyone else.

Horford the most dynamic impact on the offensive end, and taking Whiteside out will allow him to open a lot more things up for his teammates, and himself.

Kelly Olynyk can stretch the floor, but he will have no chance of guarding Horford on the inside, meaning Horford could once again be the top offensive performer for the Celtics.

The Celtics have strung a few wins together, but they have to keep that going if they want to get their confidence back after injuries crushed the first week of the season.

The Heat are a good team, but without Whiteside, they are a team that the Celtics need to be able to defeat comfortably. These things are rarely comfortable, but with Whiteside sidelined, things become a lot more manageable for the Celtics.

The Celtics will also be re evaluating Marcus Morris between these next two games. The Celtics are in a position where they could be ready to go on a solid run once he returns, and their lineup is at full strength, at least as full as it is going to get this season.

This game cannot be taken lightly, because it is still a good, well coached team, but the Celtics cannot throw this one away with their best player sidelined, and the one player that could disrupt what the Celtics want to do on either end.