Horford back from paternity leave as Celts host Pistons

BOSTON -- Al Horford will be back in the Boston lineup when the Celtics host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

Horford, who missed nine games this season because of a concussion, was not with the team in its easy win at Miami on Monday night because his wife gave birth to the couple's second child.

Amazingly, Horford had to defend not being at the game after a local talk-show host said he should have chartered a jet and joined his team in Florida.

"My family's very important to me," he said Tuesday. "For me, I'm in more of a unique situation because this is our first year here (in Boston) and my wife, we all moved in the middle of the pregnancy. And just a lot going on. So I just felt like it was important for me to really be there, supporting her. And we have a son as well.

"So for her, it's been a lot thrown at her these past few months. So I know that it meant a lot for me to be there with her, and knowing our schedule ahead and everything. So I'm just very happy that the Celtics really take the time and they consider us not only as players but as people. And people that have families."

After Horford's sister came to his defense on Twitter, the player put the whole thing in perspective, saying, "I don't really read into any (criticism). I don't read Twitter and stuff, and the radio and all that. I just kind of focus on the court, on my job here, and then off the court on my family.

"Everybody has their opinion. I respect anything that anybody has to say. I care a lot about the group and our guys. Like I was explaining earlier, for my family's sake it was important for me to be there for them. Just with our transition and everything. So that's that. Now I can put that behind me and get focused again on (Wednesday's game)."

That contest will be against a Detroit team that won easily beat the Hornets on Tuesday night, a 112-89 win at Charlotte.

"Give them their due -- four games in five nights, it's awfully difficult in this league," Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said of the Hornets. "I think they ran out of gas a little bit in the second half. But still, we did what we were supposed to do. It was important for us to do that, so I was happy."

The Pistons won despite the ejection of big man Andre Drummond in the second quarter for throwing an elbow at Roy Hibbert -- a non-believing Drummond laughing and shaking his head as he walked off the court following the flagrant-2 call.

Tobias Harris scored 24 points and Marcus Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 18 apiece for the Pistons (9-10).

"It says a lot about our team, but most importantly about guys like Aron (Baynes) and Jon (Leuer) to fill in for that role and be productive and bring the energy that (Drummond) had when he was out there," Harris said. "We just kept playing with them."

The Celtics (10-7) cruised to a 112-104 win in Miami and came away saying Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told his players that Boston guard Marcus Smart was "a hothead."

"I was begging for Spoelstra to get a technical foul because he was saying a lot of stuff," Boston's Jae Crowder said. "He was everywhere (Monday) night, but that's one of the things he did say. When they went to intentional foul Marcus, it was obvious that what they were trying to do was more than just foul. They were trying to get under his skin and play a little physical, and knowing he wanted to retaliate for the most part. So it's just part of the scouting report on I guess Marcus that he wears his emotions on his sleeve."

The Pistons and Celtics played Nov. 19 in Auburn Hills, Boston winning 94-92 with Isaiah Thomas scoring 24 points and dishing out eight assists.