Boston Celtics: Al Horford is the key to closing out the Cleveland Cavaliers in the ECF

NBA Boston Celtics Al Horford (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NBA Boston Celtics Al Horford (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The most important member of the Boston Celtics not named Brad Stevens that will help them reach the NBA Finals is Al Horford

The Eastern Conference Finals is coming down to a one game, take all between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. The winner of Sunday’s game will get to take on the winner of the Warriors/Rockets in the NBA Finals. 

The Celtics have been faced with a roster full of injuries throughout the season. Brad Stevens has done a great job of keeping the team together and having them prepared to play despite the loss of many different players. Most notably, Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

Since Stevens has been in Boston he has preached team basketball as a means to winning. He is able to take players and put them in position to exceed. He does not rely much on the isolation type of NBA game that has helped teams like Houston and Cleveland win throughout the season.

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It is important for the Celtics to share the ball and get everyone involved. The Celtics have been able to win games because they have bought into the system that Stevens preaches. Games that have been lost this series has been due to a lack of sharing the ball.

With this thought in mind, the most important player for the Celtics to advance to the NBA Finals is Al Horford. He is the veteran presence on a team that averages only 25.33 years of age.

The reason Horford is the key to victory is because he is not a main ball handler for the team. If Horford is getting touches then the Celtics are sharing the ball and making the extra pass. Moving the ball around makes the Celtics tougher to guard because the Cavs defense must focus on all five Celtics on the court.

This is proven by looking at Horford’s scoring average in games the Celtics have won and games they have lost this series. In victories, Horford has averaged 16.6 points per game. When the Cavs win, the Celtic forward has only scored 9.3 points per game. He shoots the ball at 48 percent on the season so he is making almost every other shot.

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If the Boston Celtics do not share the ball and make themselves easily defended then the Cavs will prevail. For the Celtics to be Eastern Conference Champions, Al Horford has to touch the ball and get good shots.