Saturday, April 29, 2023

Al Horford gets last laugh on Hawks fans in Game 6 victory

Al Horford hasn't been welcomed in Atlanta since he first signed with the Celtics back in the summer of 2016.

The former Hawks forward, got the last laugh Thursday night at State Farm Arena when he came up big in the fourth quarter of the C's 128-120 Game 6 win to send the franchise he spent nine seasons with home for good.

Trailing 113-110 with 4:50 left to play, Horford hit a go-ahead corner 3-pointer in front of the Hawks bench to which he immediately was seen jawing with a fan in the stands. The veteran's huge shot was part of Boston's 17-3 run to wrap up their best-of-7 series and advance to the second round.

Horford finished the game with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, to go along with 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals in 30 minutes of action.

The Celtics big man spoke to the reporters following his performance and admitted that the heckler gave him some motivation down the stretch.
"Yeah, there was somebody there," Horford said in postgame comments. "I'm not gonna call him out, but he was -- I appreciate it, because he got me going. He said some stuff there that I wasn't very pleased with, and I took it to heart. I was able to get that shot, so I appreciate him for talking trash to me.
"Some people you can talk trash to. You talk trash to me, it's probably not good for you."
While Horford averaged 5.8 points on 40.6% from the field and 36% from deep in six games against the Hawks, he also put up 7.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per contest -- just a glimpse of "Playoff - Al" and a reminder that he come through Thursday at a critical moment for the Celtics.
"Can't say enough about Al," said Jaylen Brown during his post Game 1 presser." Al's a professional. He does it on both ends. He makes timely shots, timely plays, timely rebounds. He's probably one of the best off-court leaders in the NBA."
The Celtics will need more timely plays from Horford when they take on another one of his former teams in the Philadelphia 76ers. Game 1 is scheduled for Monday night, as TNT has the tip-off from TD Garden at 7:30 ET. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy NBC Sports Boston

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