Celtics point center Al Horford led Boston in everything Sunday including points (22), rebounds (10), assists (five), blocks (two) and minutes (36) and capped the performance by hitting a buzzer-beating fadeaway jumper to seal a 97-96 home win over Portland just hours before Bostonians turned their attention to Super Bowl LII. It was Big Al’s third career game-winning shot, one came this season against Houston and the other a buzzer-beater when he played for Atlanta during the 2013-14 season.
Horford played an even larger role in running the offense as the Celtics have battled the injury bug with three point guards, including Kyrie Irving, all out this week. Horford continues to lead the team in assists (5.3), rebounds (7.9), blocks (1.1) and three-point percentage (44.2) despite rumors of him being the last pick in the NBA All-Star draft.
Around the NBA, frustrated big men for the New York Knicks are trending as Joakim Noah’s teammate Willy Hernangomez expressed his wish to be traded before the February 8 trade deadline due to lack of playing time. The Knicks nonsensically have a glut of six centers on the roster in a league that has transitioned to be more guard/wing centric.
For Noah, he will remain away from the team through the deadline and will likely not return anyway if Jeff Hornacek remains the coach as reports indicate the two aren’t very fond of one another.
Wizards guard Bradley Beal had a good week statistically, almost attaining a triple-double Saturday against the Magic but sat out the entire fourth quarter of the 115-98 blowout win finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Beal’s low point of the week came in the final three seconds against Toronto when he inexplicably dropped a crucial inbound pass as Washington clung to a two-point lead. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry picked up the ball and Beal fouled him. Lowry had a chance to send the game to overtime but missed both free-throws as Beal and Wizards fans breathed a sigh of relief as Washington held on to beat Toronto at home for the first time since 2013.
With a win Monday over the Pacers, Washington is now on a five-game winning streak without All-Star point guard John Wall and are 14-5 when Beal has five or more assists.
Magic forward Marreese Speights scored in double digits in all four games this week and started in two of them. Speights had a team-high 21 points in Orlando’s 127-105 win over the Lakers on Wednesday and scored 12 off the bench in Orlando’s road win over the Heat on Monday.
Lakers forward Corey Brewer averaged five points in three games off the bench for L.A. as he helped the team grind out a 2-1 record this week.
Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons went through a full practice Monday and hopes to return to action before the All-Star break after missing a month due to soreness in his right knee. Parsons will likely be on a minutes restriction when he returns.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Al Horford (C)
Dorian Finney-Smith (F)
Los Angeles Lakers
Corey Brewer (F)
Chandler Parsons (F)
Udonis Haslem (F)
New York Knicks
Joakim Noah (C)
Marreese Speights (F)
Bradley Beal (G)
Devin Robinson (F)