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June 15, 2022

Al Horford

Boston Celtics

Practice Day

Q. You've been in deep playoff series before in your career. When you get this far, how much of it is just being less creative and sticking to the simple things and making sure you nail those before you try to do anything creative offensively?

AL HORFORD: Yeah, I think it has a lot to do with that. I do believe that when you get to this point, you always look at winning teams and what do they do? They buckle down and they do the little things consistently and the right way and just get to it. A lot of times we're looking for different answers, different things. But if we're solid, if we do what we need to do, that puts us in the best position.

Q. I feel like I've seen your dad at most if not all the game, home and road, and I know you've had your son with you a lot of times. What's the experience of this with so much family around, like in this playoff run been like?

AL HORFORD: It's been great for me. I feel very grateful to have my dad with me at the games, just around. Just somebody that has played the game before, obviously. Not on this stage, but has played the game. He understands basketball.

Then my son, he is so into just everything. It's just so fun to watch him wanting to be in the locker room after the games, come up here and do media with me, getting on the court. It's really woken up his love for the game. He has always loved basketball, but now it's even more.

Just to share these moments, it's been really nice for me to share this time with my family.

Q. Do you want to relive and talk more about the game after the game, or is that what happens when you get together with you and your dad and you and your son?

AL HORFORD: My dad will send me a voice note or comment about the game, just something briefly. My son, yeah, he will usually talk, ask me questions and things like that. He is usually more concerned about do I get to go on this trip, or what hotel are we staying in?

I guess it's not so much basketball, to your question. The one that I actually talk to about basketball is my wife. My wife, she knows what it is. So her and I will sit there at dinner and usually we talk about it. She's the person that I'm able to talk to. She gives me some perspective, and we have a good dinner, and then that's that.

Q. You had talked after the game about all of the squabbling with the officiating and how that might have gotten in the way a little bit. I mean, are you guys having that conversation now, and what can you do to cut back on that?

AL HORFORD: Yeah. To your point, we addressed it, and we understand that we have to move past it.

The officials are not perfect at the end of the day. We just need to go out there and focus on us, on what we need to do. I believe that the group understands that, and that's our intention.

Q. At the end of practice there, you guys are going through the drills, but Marcus is kind of, like, dancing a little bit to the music, you guys are joking around a little bit, keeping it loose. How important is keeping it loose to accomplishing the goal that you are trying to accomplish down 3-2?

AL HORFORD: I think you have to. I feel there is a sense of urgency from our group, but I think there's that balance. Different guys will prepare for the game in different ways. Marcus, that's just the way that he is. I do know that when 9:00 comes tomorrow, he will be ready to go, and so will everybody else.

Today in practice was just almost like a normal practice day for us. So that's usually kind of how our practices go. I don't know with that much dancing, but that's kind of the way. (Laughing. )

Q. The last couple of games Wiggins has hurt you guys. Do you feel like you have to win that matchup, Jaylen or Jayson has to outplay him, and how do you get him back under control?

AL HORFORD: I think the way we're going to approach this is it's more than a matchup. We're not going to get caught up necessarily in that. We're here to win a game, not a matchup. For our guys, just continuing to make the right reads and just play. That's what we're going to do.

Q. I know a lot of the guys I think look up to you as a veteran player. "OG," we hear a lot. How would you gauge this team with its backs up against the wall? Nobody has a ring on this team. Is it desperation time, and does this team play well when it comes right down to it like that?

AL HORFORD: Yeah. We've been in positions of pressure games like this before. Obviously, never in a Final, to your point, but I do believe that the way that this team is, just too much fight. There's too much fight. There are guys that are just competitive, guys that want to compete.

I'm confident with our guys. I'm confident that they'll come out and that we will respond. Obviously, Golden State is a really good team. But we feel good about our group.

Q. Just a quick follow-up on Celtics legacy. You're wearing a uniform that's iconic. You think about the guys that have come before you, if you are a historian of the game. Bill Russell, Larry Bird, the list goes on. Do you allow yourself to think about being able to hoist another banner up to the rafter that you're a part of?

AL HORFORD: When you're in Boston, when you come to Boston, that's the expectation. That's the norm.

I know that, obviously, for many years we were never in this stage. But that's something that's already in. As soon as you put this uniform on, it's something that is expected. We're aware of that. We want to be part of that history, no question.

Q. Your back has been against the wall all year, but you have persevered. You have endured. Is there a regular-season game in your mind where you felt like it just clicked for you guys? Was there a specific game during the regular season where it all came together?

AL HORFORD: Yeah, that's a good question. I would say there were a few instances. I think it's been documented that we've talked about when we played Phoenix here at the end of the year in December. But I also felt like there was a game where we played in Philadelphia in February. The way that we played and some of the things that we were able to do really left me thinking, man, I could see it. I could see our team being very special.

It was just the way that we were playing, the pace that we were playing, how we were moving, the way the game went. And that was another point in the season that, yeah, to answer your question, that I felt that we had a chance to be really special.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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