The Boston Celtics desperately needed an energy boost, and 37-year-old Al Horford took a veteran’s step forward in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday night.

Horford recognized a sluggish-tempo’d environment, both from the Celtics and their fans at TD Garden. After a 28-28 first-quarter tie with the Cavaliers, Horford outdueled Father Time and delivered a heroic 22-point, 15-rebound double-double to put Cleveland away with a 113-98 victory to push Boston to the conference finals — either against the Knicks or Pacers.

Watching the Horford renaissance performance, New England Patriots teammates Hunter Henry and Christian Gonzalez showed their full support for No. 42 while courtside.

“Let’s go, Al! Keep shooting, Al. Keep shooting,” Henry cheered while mic’d up, per Bleacher Report video. “… That big dude over there, right there sitting down saying, ‘Shoot it,’ that’s his dad. That’s Al’s dad.”

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Henry added: “This is the Al hype game.”

Horford flipped the switch to stiff-arm the Cavaliers from pushing for a Game 6 in Cleveland, knocking down six 3-pointers after a combined 0-of-10 streak in the previous two games. From there, the Cavaliers could no longer rely on leaving the 17-year veteran wide open beyond the arc, while also having to guard Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

“We have to continue the intensity defensively. We have to play hard,” Horford said after Game 5. “We all wanted this so bad, and I’m just happy we were able to take advantage of this. In the past, we’ve been in this position and haven’t been able to close things and this is a sign of growth for our group and I’m very proud of that.”

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Boston’s early series finish against the Cavaliers granted the team some spare resting time until the start of the conference finals. The Celtics could either start that series on Sunday afternoon or Tuesday night, depending on how the New York-Indiana series ends — the Knicks lead the Pacers, 3-2.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images