Brad Stevens: Al Horford Is Our Rock

Mae Harvey
May 17, 2018

"The first game I went to he turned down a breakaway slam dunk to pass it back to Phil Forte ... to shoot a three-pointer", said Williams, who displays 500 of his Marcus Smart rookie basketball card collection on his pool table back home.

It looks like Smart really wanted to snuff him right in the grill, but Cleveland's Tristian Thompson was there to pull Smart back during the scrum of extra-curricular activities.

The most notable moment came when J.R. Smith chose to shove Al Horford in the back while the Celtics big man was in mid-air going up for an alley-oop. "Just make sure he didn't get it", Smith said.

"'You our last hope that we got for this family, ' and I took that hard in consideration", Smart said. Marcus Smart was quick to defend Horford, resulting in both Smith and Smart receiving a technical foul after a scuffle broke out.

And they certainly need more from Smith, whose frustration surfaced at the worst possible time when his hard foul on Horford riled up the Celtics and their rowdy crowd. Today was a tremendous effort on one of the biggest stages we've all played on. Smith also was called for a flagrant 1 foul for pushing Horford. "We have each other's backs".

The player he often guarded, Jaylen Brown, led the Celtics with 23 points.There were myriad miscommunications on defense that led to wide-open Boston 3s.

Boston's balanced attack was effective again, with six players reaching double figures.

During the fourth quarter, Smart poked the ball away from Cavaliers forward Jeff Green then launched himself to the sideline to save the possession.

"I love it", Smith, who shot 0-for-7, said of the jeers.

His momentum was stunted briefly at the 3:50 mark of the second quarter, when Jayson Tatum was whistled for a foul after catching James jaw with his shoulder as he attempted a steal. "We moved on to the next play, and we just locked in even more after that".

Boston flurried just before the half, getting six points from Morris in the final minute to trim Cleveland's lead to 55-48 at the break. "Our group in tough times, we've always found a way".

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