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Links & Quotes: Al Horford is back to full strength

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It is good to have Al Horford off his minutes restriction and looking like himself again.

NBA: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Al Horford is no longer on a minutes restriction and he’s starting to look and feel like his old self (rather than his OLD looking self). via the Globe

“I’ve been feeling much better over the past couple weeks,” Horford said. “Therefore, my minutes are also up and it just feels good to have no restrictions on the court. Longer minutes help me. I feel like it helps our team.”

This is peak Al Horford here. He’s like a 5 tool baseball player. He plays defense, runs the break, and makes a great pass for a transition bucket.

This is only possible now because the Celtics took the cautious approach with him earlier in the season. As Jay King details here:

The Celtics know they need Horford at or near his best during the playoffs. That’s been their endgame all along while dealing with his injured knee. Horford didn’t want to hear he should take extended time off in December, but the Celtics training staff impressed upon him that the strategy would be wise. Horford had been dealing with pain for a while at that point and the only real way to get through it would be to take some time off and focus on rehabilitation. Horford could play and wanted to continue to do so, just like any competitor would. But he listened to the advice that a cautious approach would set him up best for the long haul.

Horford just unlocks so much of what the Celtics are trying to do when he’s at full speed. Really happy to see him out there doing what he does best.