home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 23, 2018

Al Horford

Boston, Massachusetts: Gam Five

Celtics - 96, Cavaliers - 83.

Q. Can you just talk about the way Jayson Tatum played tonight? Brad [Stevens] said he was convinced he'd play well in a big game.
AL HORFORD: Yes, that was very encouraging to see Jayson really just taking on the challenge, really playing well on offense, playing well on defense. Just very poised for most of the night. I was just very happy to see him have such a good game.

Q. Defensively, in regard to sort of keeping the supporting cast in check for the Cavs, do you guys feel like you did a better job of executing the game plan, did a better job of just staying at home on some of those guys? What was the key to the defense?
AL HORFORD: Yeah. I felt like we played much better tonight defensively. The energy was much better. I was encouraged by the performance of our group tonight.

Q. How do you explain how much better the team is playing at home versus the road in this series and in the playoffs in general?
AL HORFORD: I just think that at home, one of the big things is I truly believe it's our fans. I feel like our guys feed off of them and it really just drives us as a group. When we're sometimes on the road, it's just different in the playoffs. You get on the road and you're just out there against everybody else. Here, I just think that our guys just feel comfortable and good. It's a credit to the atmosphere that's here. It's just a lot of fun to play in right now.

Q. You have some momentum now with this win, but what does the mindset need to be as you head back to Cleveland for a potential close-out game?
AL HORFORD: We did what we were supposed to do. We won here, a big Game 5 for us. Now we have a big challenge to go on the road. The first game [in Cleveland], we didn't play very well. The second one, I felt like we played a little better over there. We're going to have to play a great game come Friday because they're tough at home. At least in our series, they just had their way. So we have to make sure that we're really focused and committed to playing the right way the whole game.

I think that we've done it at spurts over there. We have to be more consistent.

Q. Jayson obviously experiencing playoff physicality for the first time. Did you talk to him at all over the course of these playoffs about just playing through stuff, not getting frustrated when calls don't go your way?
AL HORFORD: I haven't talked to him personally. I know that Coach is always staying on him and Jaylen [Brown] and Terry [Rozier], just all our guys. Just talking to them about the intensity and making sure that we're doing things with pace, that we're playing the right way. Honestly, with Jayson, all I talk to him about is defense. Most of the guys, most of the time, that's all I'm talking is defense out there. I feel like he's doing a good job on that end.

Q. There are teams when they get to this position, they'll play mental games with themselves maybe to match the desperation or urgency that the team facing elimination will have on Friday with Game 6. Do you anticipate you guys will treat this like a Game 7, or are there any particular ways you can exploit the pressure that's on them right now?
AL HORFORD: We just have to go out and play. We can't think about it as a Game 7. Just like today, we were thinking this was a Game 5. We have a good challenge to go on the road. We haven't won there this season. It's going to be very difficult, but we have a great opportunity in front of us.

Our approach as a group, we're going in there, staying together, playing the right way. We want to be more consistent playing the right way on the road.

Q. Is this the most fun you've had in a while? I mean, this group is so young, and now you're one game away from The Finals. Talking like 20-year-olds and 21- and 22-year-olds contributing at such a high level, and you're the veteran of the group. What's it like being around these kids?
AL HORFORD: It's a lot of fun, just because these guys, they want to play the right way. They play hard. I feel like we hold each other accountable out there. I think that's a big thing. And when those things happen, it becomes fun. It's fun to me. And there's no coincidence why we're in this position right now. The guys have really bought into what Coach wanted from them. We've been preparing the same way all season. We're having some success that's paying off because of the commitment that we're doing as a team.

Q. Al, Brad Stevens put Aron Baynes in the starting lineup. How did that change things for you for Game 5?
AL HORFORD: I think for our team in general, it's the lineup that we were going with most of the year, or for a good part of the year. I felt like it was great for us defensively. They made adjustments after Game 1. We kind of stuck around with the same lineup. But I think that just by doing that, it was a change that worked in our favor. Aron was great tonight -- his energy, his physicality. Just very happy that he had a good game as well.

Q. You talked earlier about just the fans and how much they fuel the team, but when you combine the energy that they're giving you with you guys playing as well as you did during that first-quarter run to build a lead, what does that feel like when you're on the court with all of that kind of coming together as a storm?
AL HORFORD: Feels great. It's definitely a lot of fun. For whatever reason, we were just so locked in, so engaged. It's not like we haven't been in the past, but I just felt like the guys were just ready to get on the floor tonight after the loss in Game 4 and just get it going again.

So it just felt good to be able to do that. It was a lot of fun playing in this game tonight.

Q. How important is it to win a game like this when you guys don't shoot well as a team but find a way to get it done in the end?
AL HORFORD: Yeah. It's our defense. We always preached all year, or Coach preached all year, he would say there are going to be nights that we're not going to shoot it well, but we have to rely on our defense. Since the first day of training camp, that's what we've hung our hat on as a group. Tonight, it paid off because we had a lot of good looks. They had a lot of good looks as well. But for us, we didn't drop them. Missed a lot of layups. Things like that. But defense was the difference for us tonight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297