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From the Eagles to the Celtics, the Living Buddha Al Horford's championship victory blew a kiss and waited 141 games

Living Buddha Horford wins the championship

In the first game of the Al Horford Championship, he contributed 26 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, helping the Celtics play a 20-2 offensive in the final quarter, reversing the Golden State Warriors under Stephen Curry, setting a number of NBA records. At the same time, he also officially bid farewell to a record that was not so glorious, and presented himself the best 36th birthday present. 

Making the playoffs is always exciting, but what if it’s a round trip every time? It may be another nightmare. Instead, it will be labeled by the media and fans, resulting in many irrational questions.

Like T-Mac, Tracy McGrady, his 35 seconds and 13 minutes is deeply rooted in the hearts of fans, but unexpectedly, it is this Spurs that has been reversed many years later, which allows him to break the curse for the first time. The taste of promotion.

It was 2013, the last season of his career. McGrady signed with the Spurs on April 16 of that year, and has played in every round since then, facing the Lakers, Warriors, Grizzlies, and even advancing to the championship game, hitting the thriving LCD Miami Heat.

It’s a pity that this legendary journey with the Spurs did not get the happy ending of the fairy tale. Ray Allen’s dramatic comeback in Game 6 took McGrady away from the championship ring.

In just two short months, it was like a dream. T-Mac never made it past the first round of the playoffs, and was only one step away from the NBA championship. Everything came too quickly, too suddenly, and the end was unexpected.

Then what if it is not a one-round tour but a three-round tour, repeatedly reaching the regional finals, but never touching the floor of the championship game?

It’s another kind of sadness, I’m afraid, and it’s a nasty feeling that Al Horford knows best.

🍀 The bitterness of practice, 141 playoff games

In 2013, the 26-year-old Al Horford played in only six playoff games before his Atlanta Hawks were eliminated 2-4 against the Indiana Pacers.

The following year, the Hawks and Horford did not make the playoffs, but in the next few years, they created many incredible legends of all soldiers, including topping the Eastern Conference leader, starting with four players in the 2015 All-Star Game…etc. Team basketball model.

Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, and head coach Mike Budenholzer are all happy — at least when they’re All-Stars together again.

What they didn’t expect was that, even if the Heat disintegrated, the Eagles still came back in the playoffs and were knocked down by the resurrected Cleveland Cavaliers, losing to LeBron James for two consecutive years.

And even if Horford left the Boston Celtics, that fate continued.

From 2015 to 2018, Horford met LeBron and his Cavaliers in the playoffs for four consecutive years. No matter whether they were wearing the Eagles or the Celtics, they could not make it through the barrier. It became a nightmare that must be experienced every May.

Former teammate Paul Millsap wasn’t much better either. In 2017, he joined the Denver Nuggets. Unexpectedly, LeBron also came to the Lakers in the West Division the following year, and met in the 2020 Disney Bubble Division Finals.

This time, Millsap failed to win, and LeBron led the Lakers to another championship.

Horford and Millsap, who have been cultivating in the playoffs, silently accumulated the number of games played, and ranked the top two in the Playoff games that did not reach the NBA championship list.

The third place is the former Eagle King Joe Johnson. At the age of 40, he played a game at the end of last year, but he did not get a contract extension from Celtic and missed the stage with Horford.

Fortunately, Horford left the list this year, leaving the unforgettable record at 141 games and moving towards the final big stage. The new No. 1 was handed over to Millsap (16 seasons, 130 games), followed by active player Paul George, but with Steve Nash and Terry Cummings ahead.

The phrase don’t give me hope and let me down again is perhaps the most unwilling voice of the above-mentioned players to face, wandering in the playoffs but not being able to stand out, and sometimes it is another kind of helpless torment.

In any case, Horford has finally bid farewell to the sad club and congratulated the 36-year-old for the best birthday present ever.

🍀 From early shutdown to trading, returning to Celtic’s mental journey

Al Horford lived up to the nickname of Living Buddha. In the first game of the championship, he contributed 26 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, helping the Celtics play a “20-2” offensive in the final quarter, reversing the Golden State Warriors led by Stephen Curry, setting a number of records.

Especially the super-high hit rate of 9-for-12 and 6-for-8 from 3-point range. Horford didn’t play like a veteran who was over 35 years old. He also naughty and sent blowing kisses to the camera. The older he is, the more charming he is. .

On June 18, 2021, he had just been traded back from the Thunder and returned to the Celtics’ arms after two seasons. He experienced the ups and downs of the city and the half-season recuperation in Oklahoma. This time home is particularly special. warmth.

That year’s head coach Brad Stevens has switched lanes to become the team’s new GM. Smart is about to become a DPOY. Double Guns Tatum and Brown did not break up, and the former rookie Robert Williams was no longer awkward. The seemingly brand-new Celtic is actually no stranger to Horford’s return.

Since Horford’s contract next season is a team option valued at 27.5M, it has more room for maneuvering than Kemba Walker and retains flexibility for Stevens’ financial planning.

However, Stevens didn’t just trade Horford back for this reason, just like he brought back old Daniel Theis from the Rockets in the middle of the season, the fit between the two and the team is the key.

ESPN, Sporting News, CBS Sports and other media are not very optimistic about Horford’s return, believing that they need a better point guard or are paving the way for Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine in the summer, but now it seems , everything is going in a better direction.

🍀 Successfully defending Jimmy Butler, Horford repays Stevens’ trust

Jayson Tatum became the MVP of the Eastern Conference finals, and was blessed by the senior Larry Bird. However, Horford is also the MVP in many people’s minds. After all, after his Game 2 return, he has handed in quite a dazzling transcript.

Horford was forced to miss Game 1 because of the COVID-19 health safety protocol. In the next four games, he averaged 12.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game in 36.7 minutes per game, while hitting three-pointers. 63.6%, allowing the green shirts to take the lead in gaining the advantage of drawing cards.

In the crucial Game 7, he also successfully blocked Jimmy Butler’s decisive 3-pointer and made quality decisions in the retreat. He was the key figure for the Celtics to beat the Heat.

According to official NBA statistics, Horford’s ORtg and DRtg in the series were 119.1 and 96.5, both second on the team, and his net rating was an astonishingly high +22.6 , tops the Celtics.

In other words, as long as Horford is on the floor, the Celtics outperform their opponents by an average of 22.6 points per 100 possessions — a terrible number.

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum both averaged more than 20 points per game, but their big brother Horford also silently supported them on both ends of the offense and defense, and jointly created the team’s victory.

We thought Horford, at 36, was too old, too slow, and had trouble playing with another big man, like he did with Joel Embiid in the Sixers.

However, Horford rediscovered his fountain of youth in Boston, and like Chris Paul the year before, helped a team with a young core reach the championship game with a new look and value.

Is Stevens really so god that he could have predicted Horford’s amazing performance in May? I’m not sure, but we all know he values ​​Horford and his knowledge of Boston’s team culture.

He knows that Horford can bring an impact to the team, just like Isaiah Thomas was able to take Isaiah Thomas to a higher level and transformed into the league’s Mr. 4th quarter, using the wisdom on the court to create opportunities to help Two Guns Tatum, Brown played better and created a new generation of legends.

Al (Horford) has always been good to me, and I’m lucky to have played with him for three years, Tatum said.

I still remember the first time I saw him when I came here in the rookie year. I watched him grow up playing as a kid, and now I watch him take care of his body and become the ultimate professional, the best player in the world. teammate.

All I’ve learned are good things and I won’t allow anyone to speak ill of Al again!

It seems that Tatum likes Horford quite a bit.

From Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving to now Tatum, Horford has always played his role silently, and did everything he could to support the team’s needs and guard everything for the Celtics.

He has witnessed the three forwards Gordon Hayward, Tatum and Brown’s run-in, and almost every season, Smart will pass out some unhappiness with his teammates, and now he has finally pulled the team to the stage of the championship game, Horford The hard work and hard work finally got the reward it deserved.

Just like Brad Stevens has always trusted him to make a difference for the team.

The events that follow will only get more intense, but Horford is confident enough to do it all. After all, such a difficult season has come, what can stop him from moving forward?

I wish Al can enjoy the hard-earned championship stage, give full play to his influence over the years, show his all-round skills to the fullest, and bring more surprises to fans.

May the best win, may the best side win!

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