Billy Donovan reacts to ex-Florida star Al Horford sinking Bulls with 3-pointer
Al Horford's dagger 3-pointer came at expense of his college coach originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Al Horford attempted just four 3-pointers over three seasons while playing for Billy Donovan at the University of Florida.
But times have changed, and so has Horford's game. Exhibit A: Horford drilled a clutch 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining Monday night to give the Boston Celtics a five-point lead and seal their 107-99 victory over Donovan's Chicago Bulls.
Horford was 1-for-4 on 3-point attempts Monday night before taking that shot but didn't hesitate when Jayson Tatum passed him the ball out of a double-team. Donovan has known Horford long enough to expect he'd probably knock it down.
Celtics Talk POSTGAME POD: Celtics gut out win over shorthanded Spurs, who have no answer for ROB WILLIAMS | Listen & Subscribe
"I'm not surprised," Donovan told NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson after the game when asked what it was like to watch his former college star hit a dagger three against his team.
"I just wish he was in the other corner because when we trapped, that’s what he does. He’s going to make a big shot. He can miss three or four in a row late in (a) game and when it really matters, he always steps up and answers the bell. He is a great competitor, great team guy. He’s all about winning."
Donovan would know; Horford won back-to-back championships under Donovan at Florida in 2006 and 2007, averaging 13.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game as a senior on a loaded Gators team that featured future NBA players Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Taurean Green.
The two have maintained a close relationship over the past 15 years, with Donovan praising Horford any time he faces his former star player.
"When he played for me, there's no doubt in my mind he could've averaged 25 pts & 15 rebs, easy. But we never would've won an national title. What I've always respected abt him is that he's always abt winning. He'll do whatever he has to do to win." â Billy Donovan on @Al_Horford pic.twitter.com/c3GXSQpSzx
— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) March 20, 2018
Horford has helped the Celtics win by honing his outside shot; he's averaging a career-high 2.0 made 3-pointers per game while shooting 42.6 from beyond the arc and has been especially lethal from the right corner, where he delivered Monday's dagger.
Leading Scorers By Zone. What Jumps Out? pic.twitter.com/1gzGBgW5Rd
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) January 9, 2023
The Celtics will look to extend their win streak to four games when they host the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.