Al Horford finally reaches NBA Finals after record 141 playoff games
Finally, Al Horford has made it to the NBA Finals.
Horford helped lead the Boston Celtics past the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday night, which officially put the Celtics back in the Finals for the first time since 2010.
But more importantly for Horford, it will mark the first Finals in his 14-year career.
Horford played in his 141st career playoff game on Sunday night, yet he had never reached that final series. The streak was the longest in NBA history.
Al Horford let it all out after reaching his first NBA Finals 🙏 pic.twitter.com/POyjJv7FcK
— ESPN (@espn) May 30, 2022
"I just didn't know how to act," Horford said, via 98.5's Alex Barth. "I'm out there just caught up, excited. A lot of hard work, I've been a part of a lot of good teams, good teammates. I'm so proud of this group ... for me, it's so special to be a part of this."
Horford had played in 11 more playoff games than Paul Millsap, who now has the longest streak without reaching the Finals. Joe Johnson and Steve Nash played in 120 postseason games, and then Terry Cummings rounds out the top five with 110 playoff games.
— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) May 30, 2022
Horford had five points and 14 rebounds in Boston’s 100-96 win on Sunday night, and he averaged 12.3 points and 9.3 rebounds throughout the postseason. They'll kick off the Finals against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco on Thursday night.
Horford averaged 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds this season with the Celtics, his first back with the team after a three-year run in Boston from 2016-19. The five-time All-Star got his start with the Atlanta Hawks, where he played from 2007-16 after they took him with the No. 3 overall pick. He then played a season each with the Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder before landing back in Boston.
The 35-year-old has come close to the Finals a few times in the past. The Hawks lost in the Eastern Conference finals in 2015 with Horford, and then the Celtics lost in the Eastern Conference finals twice with Horford in 2017 and 2018.
Though it took him longer than anyone to finally get there, Horford is finally playing for an NBA title at long last.
"Resilient. A group that doesn't quit."@tvabby exclusive with Al Horford @Al_Horford pic.twitter.com/JP7mKQrUJX
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 30, 2022
"It feels great," Horford said, via NBC Sports Boston. "It's a lot of hard work, a lot of years working toward this opportunity. I'm just so grateful, grateful for these guys, watching these guys grow up. It's unbelievable."