As the 2022-23 NBA season continues to play out, the Boston Celtics remain the league’s best team. Boston is looking down at the rest of the league from the top of the standings with a record of 22-7. The Celtics were able to right the ship on Tuesday night with an overtime win against the Lakers in Los Angeles. They had dropped their previous two games against the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers. Tuesday’s win didn’t come without its issues. The Celtics briefly collapsed after going up by 20 points in the third quarter. Los Angeles put together a 40-9 run to take a 12-point lead with just over four minutes to play in regulation. Boston then countered with a 17-5 run of their own to tie things before the final horn. The Green outlasted the Purple and Gold in overtime and came away with the 122-118 win.
The last few games of the West Coast trip were rocky, but Friday’s homecoming against the Orlando Magic should be more stable. For starters, Boston will be back home where they have yet to lose a game in regulation this season. They’ve won 11 of their 13 home games, only losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat.
As they return to the friendly confines of TD Garden, the Boston Celtics should be adding veteran big-man Al Horford back into the lineup. Horford missed Boston’s last five games, first sitting the second night of a back-to-back, then being sidelined as part of the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, and finally to welcome the newest member of his family to the world.
Traditionally, Horford has proven to be a key piece of Boston’s success. Over the last 61 regular season games, the Celtics are 40-8 when he suits up and 8-5 when he does not.
The Boston Celtics get hit on the glass
The Boston Celtics definitely missed Al Horford in the five games he was out, but even more so over the past three. The Cs could’ve used Horford’s presence on the glass for sure. The 36-year-old has secured an average of 6.2 rebounds per game so far. Boston is a team that’s been mediocre at best on the glass this season. They rank 21st in the NBA for rebounding percentage at just over 49%.
Over the last three games, that percentage has taken a dip by three percent and the Celtics ranked third worst in the category. If you were to remove the Lakers game, where they grabbed 51 rebounds and actually outrebounded Los Angeles, that number would look much worse.
Boston’s last two losses against the Warriors and Clippers weren’t pretty and could be pinned as the worse losses of the season. In those games, the Celtics allowed an average of 18.5 second chance points each night. That average is four and a half points higher than the season average. Again, this is an area where having Horford would’ve been helpful.