Celtics center Al Horford breaks record for most playoff games played without Finals appearance

Celtics center Al Horford breaks record for most playoff games played without Finals appearance

Al Horford post game

Al Horford talks about his feelings after Boston’s Game 7 win over Miami.

Al Horford is in the Finals having played in more postseason games before getting there than anyone in NBA history.

The veteran Celtics center had gone 141 playoff games without making it past the Conference Finals, a league record finally broken after Boston’s Game 7 win over Miami on Sunday.

When the final buzzer sounded, Horford was immediately overwhelmed by the long-awaited moment. The 15-year-old veteran slumped to the ground and screamed repeatedly, pounding hardwood before standing up to be hugged by his Celtics teammates and staff.

The five-time All-Star has only missed the playoffs twice since being drafted third overall by Atlanta in 2007, but missed a series with the Hawks (once) and Celtics (twice) in his deepest playoffs.

“It was a great trip,” admitted Horford. “A lot of battles. Of course I never managed to get any [until now]but lots of great teammates along the way.

Boston bought out Horford by trade last offseason, and the 35-year-old’s defense, size and leadership ended up being exactly what the franchise needed to get back to the Finals for the first time since 2010.

“When he came back, it gave us a sense of security,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. “He is selfless. Al didn’t care about numbers. He cares about wins and his team.

“No one deserves it more than that guy on my right,” added Celtics forward Jaylen Brown. “I’m proud to be able to share this moment with a veteran, a mentor, a brother, a guy like Al Horford, man.”

As well as losing his own streak without a final, Horford also becomes the first player to represent the Dominican Republic in the final, a fact he enthusiastically celebrated while switching between Spanish and English when asked. asked about the exploit.

“We’re here in Miami very close to DR,” Horford said. “I know my family is happy. Everyone is happy, everyone is watching. The country was watching, I know everyone was there. They sent me pictures. They were ready for it. We appreciate this one.

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