Stars, studs and duds: Horford stands out in return to Celtics lineup

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As the days became weeks and the weeks became perceived as weakness, Al Horford refused to return to the floor until he was ready. 

In an interview with CSNNE.com on Friday night, he said he felt great and envisioned a return to the floor very soon. 

Less than 24 hours later, he was back on the floor and to the surprise of many, doing all the things that folks came to expect from him prior to being put in the NBA’s concussion protocol program. 

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Horford had a stunning return to the floor on Saturday night in helping Boston defeat the Detroit Pistons 94-92. 

“I felt good; I felt really good,” said Horford who finished with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. “Very frustrating these past few weeks dealing with a lot of different thing.”

Horford added that he was “finally at a point where I felt good enough to play.”

Said head coach Brad Stevens: “Al was, for a guy that hasn’t played much in three weeks, looked really good out the gate.”

Horford’s return to the floor was part of a night in which the Celtics had their entire 15-man roster healthy for the first time this season. 

Both Horford and Jae Crowder returned to the floor on Saturday, but it was Horford’s performance that really stood out.

Isaiah Thomas has never minced words when it comes to discussing how important Horford is to the team’s chances at success. 

“He makes a huge difference,” Thomas said. “Even if he’s not scoring, he’s defending, he’s making plays for others. Just his presence out there, makes the court more open for other guys to create and make plays.”

Here’s a closer look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday night’s game.

 

STARS

Al Horford

It’s hard to imagine Al Horford could have played much better than he did on Saturday, a performance that was even more impressive considering he had missed Boston’s previous nine games. He tallied a double-double of 18 points (he scored the game-winning points) and 11 rebounds to go with five assists and three blocked shots which included one at the end of the game to seal the win.

Andre Drummond

One of the most dominant centers in the NBA gave the Celtics major fits despite early foul trouble. He delivered a dominant double-double of 20 points and 17 rebounds.

 

STUDS

Isaiah Thomas

After calling out the team and coaching staff following the Golden State loss, Thomas delivered one of his more complete games offensively on Saturday. He finished with a near double-double of 24 points and eight assists without a single turnover.

Marcus Morris

He had it going early and often for Detroit, a big reason why the Pistons were within striking distance most of the game. He finished with 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting with five rebounds and two assists.

 

DUDS

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

He hit a big shot for the Pistons in the fourth quarter, but missed his other field goal attempts and finished with just four points. 

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