Horford came under media scrutiny following the Celtics' 109-99 loss at Cleveland in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night. In the series-tying defeat, Boston's veteran center only took two first-half shots and went scoreless in the first two quarters as the Cavaliers took control of the game -- primarily in the second quarter.
Horford finished with a playoff-low six points on 2-for-8 shooting in 37 minutes. But in a Saturday conference call with reporters, Stevens stuck up for his big man.
"He was really productive in the first quarter. He was outstanding," Stevens said, per ESPN. "Every time he touched the ball in the post, it felt like we scored.
"Al does not care if he's the one that's scoring, he cares that our team scores."
After Friday's game, the 31-year-old center pointed out that it was the Cavs' defensive strategy that took the ball out of his hands.
"If you were watching the game, I was getting doubled as soon as I caught the ball," Horford said. "Every time. I didn't really have one-on-one position. So they did a good job of really doubling me and making it hard."
The 6-foot-10 Horford is averaging 13 points per game in the series against Cleveland, similar to his regular-season average of 12.9. But his scoring has dropped off as the playoffs have continued. Horford averaged 18.1 points in Boston's first-round series win over Milwaukee, including 26 on 13-of-17 shooting in a clutch Game 7 victory over the Bucks. He scored 15.4 points per game in the Celtics' second-round series against Philadelphia.
Game 7 against the Cavaliers is Sunday at TD Garden in Boston, with the winner to face either the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
--Field Level Media