JOE MAZZULLA FEAR THE WORST AS KEY PLAYER GOT A SERIOUS INJURY…

Al Horford will not play for the Boston Celtics on November 10 as the Cs host the Brooklyn Nets in their first NBA In-Season Tournament game at the TD Garden according to The Athletic’s Jay King — who notes that Boston will play on November 11 against the Toronto Raptors as well.

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“Al Horford, who didn’t play in both legs of back-to-backs last season, will be held out of tonight’s game against Brooklyn, per the Celtics,” King prefaced before saying, “Boston also hosts the Raptors tomorrow.”

Horford played in the first seven games of the 2023-24 season for the Celtics after the league modified its rules to cut down DNPs for non-injury/maintenance reasons.

Al Horford adjusting to bench role with the Boston Celtics

As NBC Sports’ Chris Forsberg relayed, Horford’s been able to adjust to a bench role; one he’s never had during his Celtics tenure.

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“After starting 1,003 of his first 1,013 regular-season games, Horford is adjusting to a new reserve role for a revamped Celtics team that added Kristaps Porzingis to its frontcourt this offseason,” Forsberg prefaced before saying, “Even as his shot has defied him at times to start the year, Horford has a +19.8 net rating in 107 minutes (slotting behind only White, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown among Boston’s top regulars).

“Opponents were shooting a measly 29.4 percent against Horford through four games, per the NBA’s tracking data. That was the best mark on the team and a staggering 17.2 percent below expected output. In the 54 minutes that Horford has been asked to hold the fort without Porzingis on the floor, the Celtics have a sizzling 132.4 offensive rating and a +32.4 net rating, per PBP Stats data. Horford could be particularly important when Boston visits size-filled Minnesota on Monday night while trying to remain the only unbeaten team in the NBA.”

Losing Horford is a big deal, and it could have the Celtics vulnerable against a Brooklyn squad that grades out as a top-10 offense in 2023-24.

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