The Boston Celtics received a big boost Thursday night, as Al Horford was able to clear NBA health and safety protocols hours before tip-off and join the team for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference finals matchup with the Miami Heat.
The 15-year veteran finally gave an explanation of what happened in the 48 hours prior that caused him to miss Game 1.
“Felt a little off. Felt like I needed to get tested,” Horford said in his postgame media availability. “Tuesday we got the news and then subsequently got tested again and again, and were able to get cleared. Definitely a lot going on, but at the end of the day I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to play tonight and get back with the team. This was a big game for us.”
It was indeed a big game for the Celtics, who evened up their series with Miami with a dominant 127-102 victory at FTX Arena.
Without Horford, the Celtics fell behind in the series, due in large part to a horrendous third-quarter performance in Game 1. “That was hard. That was tough to watch. Just not being there with the guys.” Horford said postgame. “It was hard, but I felt like we were able to learn from it and respond.”
Through all of the uncertainty, Horford said there were, “definitely a lot of emotions. Throughout it, I tried to stay locked in.”
Horford tallied 10 points — shooting 6-for-6 from the floor with three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in the win. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates either.
“His energy. Al is what, 35? 36? And he’s moving like he’s 22.” Marcus Smart said to the media postgame.