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May 21, 2018

Al Horford

Cleveland, Ohio: Game Four

Cavaliers - 111, Celtics - 102.

Q. Are they playing you any differently in the two games that they've been here? What defensive schemes are they putting in play now that are making you less productive than you were when you played in Boston?
AL HORFORD: I don't think they're playing any different. Once we settled down after the first [quarter], we played much better. But I don't think they're doing anything different.

Q. Was there anything about the two-game set that you had here to where your young guys may have lost their composure when you were down or something like that?
AL HORFORD: Yeah, I think with our group, we just keep learning. We haven't been in these type of positions before. Playing on the road, I was telling the guys -- and they have a better feel, especially in the playoffs. It's much harder. We have to be better. We have to execute better. We have to do all those things in order to win. It's hard to win on the road, as we found out here.

I think tonight we played much better once we settled down after the first quarter.

Q. The series is tied 2-2, but do you take any momentum going back to Boston after what you did in the last three quarters?
AL HORFORD: I don't think people talk about who has the momentum. I think each game is its own. I do think that we played much better than we did on Saturday, and we're going to learn from this game and go back home and protect our home court.

Q. 1-6 on the road in the playoffs, but technically you don't have to win a road game in this series to advance to the NBA Finals. So what's it going to take to get two of the next three, wherever they are?
AL HORFORD: I think our focus is just on the next game, on Game 5. All season but specifically all playoffs, we've been taking it game to game. We can't look at it that way [of trying to win two of three]. Right now, we're fighting for our playoff lives, and our focus as a group is Wednesday, Game 5 at home.

Q. LeBron is an incredibly intelligent player out there on the floor. Does his ability to kind of read and react to what you're doing defensively make it any more difficult for you to kind of establish that defensive identity?
AL HORFORD: Well, no question about it. Obviously his physical abilities, everybody knows that. But he's a very smart player, like you said. He just knows how to read the game. He has a good feel for it, and he's usually making the right plays.

Q. Brad Stevens was in here earlier and said something along the lines of this is what you kind of live for, two out of three, chance to go to the NBA Finals. Do you get the sense that that attitude is shared still in your locker room after these last two games, that the confidence is still there among these young guys?
AL HORFORD: Oh, of course. I mean, we handled home. They did what they were supposed to do, and they won here. Now we get to go back home, and we have a big challenge to protect our home court, Game 5.

Q. Wondering if you could speak a little bit to LeBron from your perspective. We just had a lengthy press conference with his coach and not once was there a question about a guy that scored 44 points because it's become the given. What's it like to defend that when that's the given? How do you beat that team, and how do you focus on that guy? How much can you invest in that focus and how much can you not afford to?
AL HORFORD: Yeah, it's something that people shouldn't take for granted. He's doing great things. But for our group, we need to be better, trying to contain him. He had a great game. We have to find a way to be better at home. We have no time to dwell on this game. We'll look at the film and prepare for the next one.

Q. Tonight Cleveland did a good job defending, especially on the perimeter. When the three-point shot isn't falling or just isn't there, how tough is it to get an offensive flow going?
AL HORFORD: I don't think it's necessarily tough. I just think that we have to be conscious -- everything that we do, we have to do it with pace. That's something that we walked into the game talking about, and I felt like we did a better job. We still can be much better. And yeah, give them credit; they defend the three-point line very well. But I feel like we still got some really good looks. Our offense was good. I think it can be way better, and it's something that we'll try to make adjustments and be ready for Wednesday.

Q. Being undefeated at home in the postseason in a pretty pivotal Game 5, where is your confidence level heading back to Boston?
AL HORFORD: As a group, we're excited to be back, going back home. Obviously we understand the challenge of it. We can't think about the past. We just have to worry about this opportunity. We have a Game 5 at home, and we have to make the most of it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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