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Al Horford named to NBA’s All-Defense second team

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Big impact from Big Al as part of one of the NBA’s best defenses in 2017-18. Smart and Brown appear in the balloting with him, but miss the cut.

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA announced its All-Defense teams and Al Horford made the first appearance of his career following a season where he anchored the Celtics’ elite defensive units through various lineup changes and injuries.

Horford joined Jimmy Butler, Dejounte Murray, Draymond Green and friend from this past round Joel Embiid on the second team that proved size still matters in leading an impactful team defense, even if it’s a new brand of largeness.

He ranked third on that unit with 24 first team votes as well as second team with 37. Jrue Holiday, Robert Covington, Victor Oladipo, Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert comprised the first team. Covington and Embiid tied for the final slot for first team distinction, with the 27-4 edge in first team votes handing the tiebreaker to Covington.

Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown each earned five first team votes, respectively garnering 18 and 16 points to rank seventh and ninth among players outside of the top 10.

Horford ranked T-9th in defensive box plus-minus (2.9), 14th in defensive rating (103.2) and T-13th in defensive win shares (3.8). The Celtics’ defensive rating improved by 1.4 points when he was on the floor as opposed to off, from 105.2 to 103.8. Opponents saw a 2 percent drop in effective field goal percentage when he was on the floor.

His efforts helped Boston amass the third best points allowed defense, the 11th ranked defensive rebounding squad, the most stingy three-point defense (33.9%) and the second best floor defense (44%).

Horford joins Kevin Garnett (twice), Rajon Rondo (twice) and Avery Bradley (twice) among Boston players this decade to appear on either All-Defense teams.