SAN FRANCISCO—Veteran center Al Horford made the most of his NBA Finals debut on Thursday, scoring 26 points and making six three pointers to lead the Boston Celtics to a stunning come-from-behind road win in Game One on Thursday.
The 36-year-old native of the Dominican Republic joined the league in 2007 and despite five All-Star appearances and a slew of awards, a trip to the Finals has long eluded him.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” Horford said after the 120-108 win over the Warriors in San Francisco.
“I know it’s different but I played on a similar stage in college and in those types of games, I just felt comfortable out there,” said Horford, who won two NCAA championships at the University of Florida.
“One way or another he’s going to figure it out. We put a lot on him and he delivers, that’s what he does.”
Al Horford on Jayson Tatum’s constant growth and brilliant playmaking in Game 1. pic.twitter.com/885KXZxwzL
— NBA (@NBA) June 3, 2022
“And I wanted to project that to the group. I wanted to make sure that our guys came out here and played free. I wanted them to understand that this is just a game, so just go out there and have fun.”
Horford credited his teammates for not giving up despite trailing by 12 points coming into the final frame against a team that had not lost at home all playoffs long.
The team made a combined 21 three pointers and five Celtics finished in double digits to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which continues with Game Two on Sunday.
“Just excited to be able to share this stage with this group of guys,” Horford said.
“We have a lot of great guys here, guys that have really bought into what we’re trying to do.
“It’s just fun to see all that come together.”
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