From 26 to two points, Al Horford takes historic scoring plunge in NBA Finals

Al Horford in 2022 NBA Finals - Game Two
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Al Horford was the hero of Game 1 of the NBA Finals with 26 points.

He scored just two points in Game 2 last night.

After the Celtics’ loss, there was a definite theme to his press conference.

“I feel like we didn’t move it enough on offense at times.” “We just needed to move the ball more, get some more movement.” “We just have to play at our own pace, make sure that we’re driving the ball, driving and kicking. When we play like that, that’s when we’re really at our best.”

A largely dependent scorer, Horford had all nine of his baskets assisted in Game 1. But Boston’s top creators – Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smartdrove with more tunnel vision in Game 2.

Horford’s hot shooting in Game 1 (6-for-8 on 3-pointers) always seemed unsustainable – especially to Draymond Green. But Horford didn’t even get much opportunity to test that yesterday. He didn’t attempt a shot until the second half and finished just 1-for-4 from the field without an attempt from beyond the arcc.

Going from 26 points in one NBA Finals game to two points in the next is an all-time tumble. Here are the largest game-to-game drops in scoring within an NBA Finals:

In 1988, Isiah Thomas famously scored 25 points in the third quarter of Pistons-Lakers Game 6 and finished with 43 points. But he looked far more hobbled in Game 7, finishing with just 10 points.

Horford seems healthy.

He vowed to help in other areas more in Game 3 Wednesday. He’s certainly capable. He can also shoot more aggressively.

There’s credit (Warriors defense) and blame (Boston stars, Horford himself) to be spread for Horford’s downturn.

The Celtics can win with Horford scoring little. They can lose with Horford scoring plenty. A balanced and versatile team facing a strong Golden State squad, Boston won’t be defined by this one facet.

But in Games 1 and 2, Horford’s scoring was a pretty good bellwether.