The Boston Celtics, by virtue of a 3-2 series deficit to the Golden State Warriors, are facing the prospect of losing the NBA championship at home.
Game 6 of the NBA Finals will be in Beantown on Thursday, and the Celtics will need to seriously pick up their collective game in order to stay alive, let alone to win their 18th title.
Offense has been the Celtics’ main weakness of late, as they have scored less than 100 points in all three of their losses in this series.
If they’re to at least force a Game 7, they need these two role players to play well on Thursday in order to give its two standouts enough support.
Horford, at times, has been big for the Celtics in these playoffs, including in this championship series.
When they stole Game 1 in San Francisco, he had 26 points while shooting a sizzling 9-of-12 from the field and 6-of-8 from 3-point range.
AL HORFORD 🔥
CELTICS LEAD ON A 19-4 RUN! pic.twitter.com/AYFIKlqdhM
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 14, 2022
But for just about the rest of the series so far, he hasn’t made much of an impact.
Horford may not be as good a player as Green, but like Green, he can be something of a Swiss Army knife for Boston.
His ability to defend, hit outside shots, score inside, rebound and even hit the open man makes him a potential X-factor each time he takes the floor.
With the Celtics struggling mightily to score points in the past two contests, they will probably need at least 15 points from Horford in Game 6, as well as in Game 7, if there is a Game 7.
They will also need him to get hot from downtown, especially in crunch time, as he did in Game 1, as they have not been able to hit open shots down the stretch of the last two games.
The Celtics’ bench has produced very little of late, and of their reserves, White is probably the one who is most likely to go off and give them a lift offensively.
Spin cycle and-1 by Derrick White 🌀 pic.twitter.com/YJaVv77PDg
— ESPN (@espn) June 11, 2022
He played well in Game 1, dropping 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting overall and 5-of8 from beyond the arc, but since then he has really struggled to hit shots.
When Tatum and/or Brown are resting on the bench, someone needs to pick up the slack, and although Marcus Smart has been playing well, that just isn’t enough.
When the series started, some felt that the Warriors’ greater depth of offensive threats would eventually be Boston’s downfall, and so far, it has proven to be true.
Andrew Wiggins, their third-best player, has been playing like an All-Star, but no one on the Celtics outside of Tatum and Brown has been able to match his offensive production.
If the Celtics are to pull off a comeback and claim the world championship, White will have to be a significant reason why.