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May 19, 2022

Al Horford

Boston Celtics

Game 2: Postgame

Celtics 127, Heat 102

Q. What has this been like for you since you got here to Miami? How much of an emotional roller coaster ride, and how good was it to get out there tonight and do what you guys did?

AL HORFORD: Yeah, yeah, definitely a lot going on. But at the end of the day I was just -- I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to be able to play tonight and get back with the team. This was a big game for us.

Q. Can you just kind of walk us through -- it was a crazy 48 hours it seemed like, obviously sitting out a game and being uncertain about this game and how you found out you'd be able to play?

AL HORFORD: Yeah, just a lot of uncertainty. Felt a little off and felt like I needed to get tested. Tuesday we got the news, and then subsequently got tested again and again and was able to get cleared. Just definitely a lot of emotions, and through all of it, I just tried to stay locked in, do my part as best I could. I'm happy that I was able to be out there with the guys tonight.

Q. It's been a while since you guys, you, Rob, Smart have been out there at full strength carrying over that defense from the regular season. How did it feel to have that all back intact tonight?

AL HORFORD: It felt good. That's what our team is about. We've been talking about this bit since January, when we really started getting at it and kind of creating that identity and how we wanted to play, that's who we've been.

We understood it was an important game tonight. They obviously beat us that Game 1, and for us it was just important to come out and get this win at all costs.

Q. How difficult, frustrating was it to watch Game 1 by yourself? Was it almost a blessing in disguise that you got a couple extra days of rest?

AL HORFORD: It was difficult, just being there with the guys, supporting them, not being able to be there with them. 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.

Q. You weren't here a couple years ago when this team had trouble against the zone, and you see it tonight, you jump right on it, and you guys really tore it apart. I'm sure there's a lot of prep that went into this, but what do you think was key to breaking apart the zone when you saw it there in the first quarter?

AL HORFORD: Yeah, you know, Miami does a good job with it. Coach Udoka just kept it very simple for us and he wanted us to go about it a certain way and play with pace. That's what we did. Our guys kept making the right reads, Jayson, Jaylen, Marcus, just kind of attacking downhill and making plays for us.

Q. What changed there the middle of the first quarter when Grant came in and you went from you and Rob both out there to one of you and you outscored them by 30 and really took over. What did you see change?

AL HORFORD: I'm not sure. I think we just kind of settled in. They came out and they were hitting some tough shots, and we just stayed the course, just continued to play. But yeah, Grant came in there, gave us a huge boost. He's been playing so great. Grant is the kind of guy that we're asking a lot of him, putting him in all different situations, all different positions, and he answers the call every time. It doesn't matter if he has to guard was it Jrue Holiday in the last series, Giannis, in this series Jimmy, Bam. He's all over the place, and he's been really good for us.

Q. At what point today did you rejoin the team and what was everyone's reaction?

AL HORFORD: Well, it was on the bus that I got to see them, and just happiness. Jaylen, Jayson, everybody was just really excited, and we were all just kind of like, let's get it going. We're missing D 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.

Q. You mentioned how you guys have put in Grant Williams and ask a lot of him, a lot of different responsibilities. You've played in the Playoffs a bunch, going back to your time in Atlanta. How much more complicated in the postseason is it from a game preparation standpoint to get ready using so many different defensive schemes like you guys do, depending on different situations in the game, compared to how it was before when you were younger?

AL HORFORD: Yeah, it's definitely a challenge, but I think Coach Udoka has done a good job with us all year really, just kind of establishing an identity, who we want to be, what we're about, and we're going out there and we're doing it and we're enjoying doing it, and guys -- we've done it so much that it's kind of -- it's muscle memory at this point. We're getting out there, we're doing it, we're executing, and everybody is buying into it.

Q. What was it like watching the third quarter of Game 1, and what kind of things were you saying by yourself in a dark room?

AL HORFORD: Oh, man, that was hard. Yeah, that definitely was -- that was tough. That was tough to watch. Just not being there with the guys. You've got to give Miami credit; they were just really good, and they kind of took over in that quarter. It was tough.

Anytime you want to be there for your guys, and it was hard, but I felt like we were able to learn from it and respond, and we did a good job of that tonight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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