By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Maybe today is a day we can leave Al Horford alone.
In a game played with heavy hearts for a grieving Isaiah Thomas, who turned in an inspiring performance of his own in the Celtics’ 106-102 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Horford turned in one of his best games of the season. He finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, including a plus-3 rating and 61.5 percent shooting in 40 minutes.
Yet, even after a near-triple double, you still get tweets like this …
(Those last two from Zo were sarcastic.)
It’s fair to note that Horford did not grab a single rebound in the final 17 minutes of the game, according to CLNS Radio’s Jared Weiss. The Celtics certainly could have used his presence on the glass in the closing minutes of the game. But to continue to heap criticism on Horford after he was far from the worst Celtic on the floor was curious, to say the very least.
It’s also fair to note that there were plenty of viewers who saw and understood Horford’s contributions in the game last night. Those that are ripping him after that game should probably direct their anger to the likes of Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Kelly Olynyk. Those five players were a combined 17-of-50 shooting (34 percent) with generally poor shot selection, with 21 rebounds.
Five key players, none of them being Horford, with 21 rebounds between them. That’s unacceptable.
The Celtics on the whole got destroyed on the glass, 53-36. Horford may need to pull more rebounds down in crunch time, but so does the rest of the team. The man almost had a triple-double. He gets ripped for not producing enough on the score sheet, but even when he actually shows up on the score sheet, he still gets crushed. The reaction to his game on social media was, at best, polarizing when ultimately there really wasn’t a whole lot to complain about from his standpoint – and a lot more to complain about with plenty of other players.
Most of the Celtics deserve some criticism after Sunday night’s loss, but Horford should be pretty low on the list.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.