Al Horford Handles J.R. Smith Situation Like A “Pro’s Pro”
By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com
Boston Celtics all-star forward Al Horford demonstrated during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals why he’s one the NBA’s ultimate pros.
During the C’s, 114-94, Game 2 win on Tuesday night, Horford posted a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double, but that’s not the biggest story of the night for the five-time all-star.
Late in the fourth quarter Horford put his mark on the game with an 8-0 run of his own, which put the Celtics up 103-89 with 2:54 left in the game.
It all started when Horford was fouled by LeBron James with 4:25 on the clock.
Horford went onto to knock down both free throws.
Then here’s when things get dicey and Horford begins to show why he’s one of the best in the business at taking care of business.
So for some stupid reason Cavaliers guard J.R Smith decided to recklessly push Horford from behind while he was in the air trying to receive a lead pass from Smart towards the basket.
Ty Lue: The Celtics “were gooning it up” ???? pic.twitter.com/MvjybRLOx4— Jim Louth (@JimLouth) May 16, 2018
Smith received a ‘flagrant foul – type 1’ for his boneheaded foul on Horford with 3:49 on the clock.
Horford, who’s shooting 80 percent from the line, shook off the hard foul and went onto make both free throws once again after evading a potential injury.
Then on the next possession after the made freebies, he went to work on Kevin Love in the post.
And guess what?
He made another basket, on top of drawing the and-one, as he put the Celtics up 101-89 with 3:37 to play.
Then to top of Horford’s personal 8-0 run, he knocked down a smooth 21-footer to increase the C’s lead to 103-89, with less than three minutes to play.
Just in case you lost track, Horford went off for eight straight points in the matter of 91 seconds.
Rather than stooping down to Smith’s level and making dirty plays, he chose to go the other way and get dirty on the score sheet, with six straight points after the foul.
This is why Horford is a “Pro’s Pro.”
Who else in the league would’ve channeled their energy into making plays rather than ruckus like Horford?
But in the breath, that’s what Marcus Smart is for. – And Marcus Morris, but in this case it’s Smart all the way.
So following the play where Horford was shoved from beyond by Smith, Smart came running up to defend his fellow Celtic.
He got right in Smith’s face like a savage, while giving him a little love tap, before teammates and refs came in to break things up.
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.
Following the game, everyone involved had a comment on the situation starting with Horford.
"We have each other's backs," says Al Horford.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 16, 2018
Marcus Smart had his back tonight????
Then Smart followed up by calling Smith a “bully” during his post-game presser.
"That's a dirty shot." Marcus Smart talked about JR's shove after the game. pic.twitter.com/jh8AgaUCWd— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 16, 2018
At least Smith can admit that he blatantly fouled him, but it was the way in which he did it that makes it so outrageous.
J.R. Smith on his flagrant: "It was a good call. I blatantly pushed (Horford). It wasn't like I was trying to low bridge him or something. I just wanted to make sure he didn't get it. It was a good, hard foul. I understand why they gave me a flag there." #Cavs #Celtics— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) May 16, 2018
There still could be some bad blood after this one but lets see what happens now as the Celtics head to Cleveland for Game 3 on Saturday night with a 2-0 series lead.
UP NEXT: The #2 Boston Celtics (55-27/2-0) will head to Ohio to take on the #4 Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32/0-2) on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 8:00 p.m., with tip-off set for 8:30 p.m.
John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Click here for everything Celtics, including news, podcasts, feature stories, and more!