How Celtics Reacted To Al Horford Rejoining Team Before Game 2 Vs. Heat

'Just happiness'

by

May 20

Jayson Tatum found out via the Boston Celtics’ Instagram that Al Horford was going to play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night after missing Game 1 against the Miami Heat.

And when Horford, who had been in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, officially rejoined his teammates in person, the reaction was what you’d expect following such positive news.

“Well, it was on the bus that I got to see them, and just happiness,” Horford told reporters after Boston’s 127-102 win at FTX Arena. “Jaylen (Brown), Jayson, everybody was just really excited, and we were all just kind of like, ‘Let’s get it going.’ We’re missing (Derrick White) and obviously he’s handling business, bigger things than what we’re experiencing right now. So we had to hold it down for him tonight.”

As Horford noted, White missed Game 2, as the guard returned to Boston earlier in the day for the birth of his child. The Celtics received a significant boost in the form of Horford and Marcus Smart, though. The latter also missed Game 1 on Tuesday night while dealing with a mid-foot sprain.

“It was difficult, just being there with the guys, supporting them, not being able to be there with them,” Horford said of missing Game 1 in Miami while in the league’s COVID-19 protocols. “Obviously they have a great environment here, and that was the hardest part for me — not being able to be there for the guys when they needed me.

“I’m just really grateful. I thank God. I’m really grateful that I was able to get this opportunity so quickly and be able to be here for Game 2.”

Horford finished Game 2 with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc. He also added three rebounds, three assists and a block in 33 minutes, although his biggest contribution might be the defensive versatility and overall calming presence he provided as the Celtics bounced back admirably from a Game 1 loss that was plagued by an awful third quarter.

The best-of-seven series now shifts to Boston for Game 3 on Saturday night. Tipoff from TD Garden is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports Images
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