Horford earns ‘ultimate compliment' from Mazzulla after making NBA history originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics got the best of the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, winning 125-117 on their home court. While Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White led the way in scoring with a combined 52 points, Boston's victory can be credited to the effort and hustle of 37-year-old Al Horford.
Playing against the team that drafted him with the third overall pick back in 2007, Horford seemed to go back in time to a form of his younger self. The five-time All-Star made winning plays all over the court, exerting next-level effort that surely rubbed off on the rest of his team. From diving out of bounds to save the ball to hustling back on defense to block a shot, Horford just seemed to be everywhere.
Al Horford is out here HUSTLIN' 😤😤😤 pic.twitter.com/qxzYExNP4r
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) February 8, 2024
Horford's effort on Wednesday night can be measured by his stat line -- 14 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, four blocks, and two steals. If the near triple-double still underwhelms you, this next part won't: Horford became the oldest player and first big man in NBA history to log more than 10 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, four blocks, and four 3-pointers in a game.
Following Boston's win, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla spoke on Horford's consistent impact, regardless of whether he starts or comes in off the bench, which he's evenly split at 21 games apiece.
"This is the ultimate compliment -- you know what you're getting," Mazzulla said of the team veteran.
It is tough to find other players at Horford's age around the league who can consistently contribute at the same level the 17-year veteran has this season. Although Horford is the sixth-oldest active player in the league, he continues to prove his worth in Boston, averaging 7.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and a block this season.
"Al's amazing," Derrick White told NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin. "That's all you can really say about Al. He does so many things for us on the court and off the court that just help us win games -- he's amazing."
What did Horford think of his record-breaking game? The veteran kept his answer simple, reverting back to putting his team first to help get wins.
"Just pass the pill, make a play. That’s what I try to do," Horford said at the podium.
Luckily for the aging Horford, the Celtics will have a day off at home before hitting the court on Friday night to take on the Washington Wizards, where fans could see the debut of the newly acquired forward Xavier Tillman.