BOSTON — Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd can relate to Boston Celtics center Al Horford.

It took Kidd until his 17th season in the NBA to get his hands on the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Horford, 38, currently is in his 17th season himself and the only thing that’s missing in his stellar career is an NBA title.

Kidd, who was nearing the end of his playing career when Horford entered the league in 2007, has plenty of respect for Horford, but he hopes year 17 isn’t as fruitful for the Celtics veteran as it was for him.

“I think when you talk about Al’s journey, it’s been incredible,” Kidd said Thursday at TD Garden prior to Game 1. “It just seems like he’s getting younger. He’s been on great teams. He’s always been a great teammate from afar from what I’ve heard. Just understanding his skill set, being able to guard everyone on the floor as a teammate, being able to also stretch the floor, being able to shoot the three, and so longevity, he’s doing something right when you talk about eating and taking care of your body and also mentally, because it can become draining. It can become where maybe I want to get on with my life and do something different.

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“But again, his goal is to try to win a championship. Our goal is to try to delay that. But again, he’s going to be one that’s going to have an impact in this series.”

Kidd had to go through the pain of losing back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003 before winning the league’s ultimate team prize. The journey is similar for Horford as he was with the Celtics two seasons ago when they lost in six games to the Golden State Warriors.

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Horford certainly sacrificed this season to try to help the Celtics win a championship. He took a reduced role and moved to the bench with Boston acquiring Kristaps Porzingis in the offseason.

When Porzingis went down in the playoffs, Horford, who is revered by his teammates for being a consummate professionalism, stepped up and continued to provided impact play for the Celtics. He even set a career high with seven 3-pointers in a Game 3 win over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.

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Horford will look to provide similar contributions to get to the mountaintop with Kidd and Mavericks trying to halt that journey just short of it.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images