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Boston Celtics

Al Horford's second career triple-double leads Boston Celtics past Miami Heat

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Al Horford [NBA Getty Images]

Al Horford has been in and out of the Celtics' lineup and was probable for tonight's contest, battling left knee soreness.

With Boston in need of a win to hold on to the No. 4 seed in the East, Horford powered through knowing how badly his team needed him.

And he delivered in a big way, notching his second career triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Horford has been vital to the Celtics success all season. He's missed three of the last six games and Boston lost all three contests in Horford's absence.

According to NBA.com, since the All-Star break the Celtics have a net rating of minus-12.8 when Horford is off the floor.

Their offensive rating of 111.4 with Horford on the court drops to 101.6 when he goes to the bench. Even more glaring is his impact on the defensive end, where the Celtics own a defensive rating of 104.2 with Horford on the court compared to 114.4 when he's off the floor.

He anchors the defence as a vocal leader and adds another dimension to the Celtics' offence as a pick-and-roll screener who can score from every level of the floor.

Aside from Horford's well-rounded night, Kyrie Irving filled the box score with 25 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

They held off a huge game from Goran Dragic, who scored 30 points with five assists and five steals. Bam Adebayo continued his solid play as well with a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds.

The Eastern Conference standings didn't shift despite having all 10 teams in the playoff picture in action.

The Bucks and Raptors took care of business while the 76ers loss didn't affect anything.

The Celtics' win over the Heat and the Pacers' win over the Pistons kept those teams tied for the No. 4 spot, while the Nets loss (to the Bucks) still leaves them a half-game back from Detroit.

With the Magic's loss to the Raptors, they remain a half-game behind the Heat for the final spot in the East.

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