Al Horford closely resembled a certain Golden State Warriors icon in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics big man was raining threes just like Stephen Curry, which helped neutralize the point guard’s scorching-hot start when he made six threes in the first quarter.
Horford didn’t hit six threes in a quarter, but he did match that same total for the game, setting a new career high along with multiple NBA Finals records. But the weight of a three-pointer is felt much more towards the latter stages of the game. Three after back-breaking three from the Celtics center ultimately piled on the Warriors in that final frame.
Al Horford was asked about his floor-spacing prowess after Boston’s practice session at Chase Center on Saturday. The veteran, who attempted just 65 three-pointers total in his first eight seasons, suddenly took 256 of them in his ninth and final year with the Atlanta Hawks. He revealed how a conversation with then-Hawks general manager Rick Sund ultimately nudged him to turn into such a lethal stretch five.
Via Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes:
“Rick is the one that told me, ‘Man, you have a really good mid-range. You should start shooting corner threes, that’s going to help extend your career,’” the Celtics big man told Yahoo Sports as he was leaving Chase Center after practice Saturday. “I used to be a banger down low and posting up. He was like, ‘Man, you’re not going to last in this league if you keep playing like that.’ Rick Sund was the first to tell me.”
The switch has clearly paid off as Al Horford continues to be a productive player well into his thirties. While a huge part of that is likely a credit to keeping his body in shape, becoming a knockdown shooter just makes him the ideal stretch five, one potentially championship-caliber at that.