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Dan Devine

Video: Al Horford: 'Yay!' Ray Allen: 'Bang.' Horford: 'Whoops.'

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

Listen, we all get excited sometimes. You find a fiver in the jeans you wore Saturday and you're like, "Killer!" You see Don King in a Bedazzled jean jacket and you're like, "Frente!" You wake up to someone in your neighborhood blasting "Darkness on the Edge of Town" at 5:50 in the morning on a Tuesday — not next door, not down the hall, somewhere undefinable outside of your apartment building, at mind-splitting volume — and you're like, "This is the best!" In this life, occasion for elation abounds.

The key, though, is knowing when it's time to let it all hang out and when you should tighten up. It's a real Kenny Rogers conundrum (no Cam Newton). In the closing seconds of the second quarter of the Boston Celtics' 99-76 pasting of the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night, Al Horford(notes) could have used a little help determining which time it is.

Things start out well, as Horford makes a nice play — one of the few on a forgettable night that saw him miss seven of his 10 field goal attempts en route to six points, four rebounds, an assist, a steal, a block, a turnover and a -25 line — to rotate to the baseline after Paul Pierce(notes) pump-fakes past Jason Collins'(notes) close-out attempt at the 3-point line. Al then meets The Truth at the tin and sends Pierce's dunk attempt right back in his mug, which is a pretty nice way to collect a debt.

It's a sweet moment, one I'm sure was made all the more satisfying by the contentious past the two players share and the recent postseason history between their teams, so Horford fist-pumping like a delighted Vinny makes some sense. Of course, as a general rule, you probably shouldn't celebrate too hard until the play's actually over.

Kevin Garnett(notes) (17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) saves the ball as it's going out of bounds and passes to a wide-open Ray Allen(notes), who drains a triple over the outstretched arms of Joe Johnson(notes) and Marvin Williams(notes) with the shot clock winding down. That pushed Boston's lead to 64-42, by the way. Another general rule Horford might want to consider: Keeping the outbursts to a dull roar when you're down 20 in your own gym. I realize that's a lot of rules to learn, Al, but if you don't, you'll be eaten in your sleep (or, at least, dominated by a conference rival you can't stand).

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