Tito Horford Reveals What Inspired Al's Epic Game 5 Performance

Al Horford's father Tito Horford tells FanSided what Al told him before turning in his best game of the postseason
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

For the third straight season, Al Horford and the Boston Celtics are heading back to the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-98 in Game 5 to complete a 4-1 victory in their best-of-7 series.

Horford entered Game 5 shooting at an 18.2% clip from deep in the series and struggled immensely in Games 3 and 4 at Cleveland, where the drought reached 0-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc. But Tito Horford, Al's father, knew Wednesday night would be different and had zero concerns about whether his son's outside touch would bounce back against the Cavs.

"He told me 'Dad, I'm going to finish them,' before the game," Tito told FanSided. "I knew they would win, and he was going to be a big part of it"

Horford delivered his best game of the postseason. According to his dad, Tito, Al's shooting slump, coupled with an opportunity to end the series early catapulted Al's focus and determination heading into Game 5.

He finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists. Horford was a menace on the defensive end of the floor, where he finished with 3 blocks, 1 steal, and countless heads-up plays, such as saving loose balls and securing second-chance possessions throughout the second half. At the same time, Boston slowly kept the very short-handed Cavs team at bay in the final frame.

After missing Game 4, Donovan Mitchell (calf), Cleveland's best scorer, was ruled once again, along with Jarrett Allen (rib), who missed the entire series, and Caris LeVert (knee). Evan Mobley finished with a playoff career-high 33 points to go with his seven rebounds, and Marcus Morris Sr. was on fire, scoring 25 points on 10-of-13 attempts, including 5-for-6 from deep.

But the Celtics' responded by executing on both ends of the floor with a series of defensive stops, and an onslaught of fast-break buckets that eventually cushioned their double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter.

"I'm just happy we were able to take advantage of this. In the past, we've been in this position and haven't been able to close," Horford said. "So, this is a sign of growth for our group, and I'm very proud of that."

Al Horford

Jayson Tatum flirted with a triple-double (23 points, ten rebounds, nine assists), Derrick White netted 18 points, and with 56.1 seconds left on the game clock and a 14-point lead intact, Horford connected on his sixth and final three of the night, sending Al and Celtics fans at TD Garden into a frenzy.

"We had a great opportunity here at home to handle this, and I knew it was going to take a lot more than just playing a normal game"

Al Horford

Horford's six threes tie a playoff career-high as the 17-year veteran prepares for his fifth appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals, where the Celtics will take on the winner between the New York Knicktie and Indiana Pacers series, where the Knicks currently hold a 3-2 lead.

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