NBA

Celtics’ Al Horford on beating the Cavs: ‘Right now we’re not there’

PHOTOGRAPH: Keith Allison/Flickr | Al Horford of the Boston Celtics

Al Horford played his first season as a member of the Boston Celtics where he helped them return to the Eastern Conference Finals. Horford admitted that he doesn’t see the Celtics surpassing the Cleveland Cavaliers unless they make a huge improvement on their roster this offseason.

“We see that the team to get past is Cleveland, and right now we’re not there,” said Celtics big man Al Horford, who is now 1-15 against James in his postseason career and has been eliminated by James’ teams in each of the past three seasons. “I’m proud of our group. It felt like we grew as the year went on. Not the way we wanted to finish, but we came a long ways from the beginning of the year, came together. We still have to keep growing as a group and getting better.”

Al Horford sees the Cleveland Cavaliers as a huge blockage

The Celtics continue to rise to the top since they decided to undergo a full-scale rebuild. They ended the 2016-17 NBA regular season as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. After struggling in the first two games of the playoffs, the Celtics managed to find their rhythm and beat their respective opponents in the first and second round.

In the East Finals, they faced the reigning NBA champions, Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the third consecutive season Al Horford faced the Cavaliers in the playoffs. Before he joined the Celtics, Horford and the Atlanta Hawks got swept by the Cavaliers for two consecutive seasons. However, in Game 3 of the recent East Finals, Horford grabbed his first win against the Cavaliers in the postseason.

Horford’s years of experience of facing the Cavaliers helped him evaluate the Celtics’ current status. With their eyes focused on the offseason, the Celtics must be eyeing to improve their roster via free agency or trade market.

GM Danny Ainge compares Al Horford for Kevin Garnett and Bill Walton

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has nothing but praise for Al Horford in his first season in Boston. Ainge revealed that Horford reminds him of Kevin Garnett and Bill Walton.

“Al had a fantastic year from the first day, and, yeah, in the playoffs he had some remarkable moments in games and stretches,” Ainge said. “He seems to be able to go a little bit more when we need him to, where he didn’t need to do that as much in the regular season when he was more of a facilitator. He reminds me so much of KG in that he can go and get you more if you need it, but he loves being part of a team. He reminds me a little bit of (Bill) Walton, too. They love to pass, they love to play, and they love to play the game the right way.”

Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr

Video courtesy: Youtube/MassLive

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