Celtics center Al Horford loses record for most play-offs played without finals

Al Horford after the game

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

Al Horford is in the finals after playing more postseason games before getting there than anyone in NBA history.

The Celtics veteran center had played 141 playoff games without progressing past the conference finals, a league record finally broken after Boston’s Game 7 victory over Miami on Sunday.

When the final buzzer sounded, Horford was immediately struck by the long-awaited moment. The 15-year veteran slumped to the ground and screamed repeatedly, pounding the hardwood before rising to be hugged by Celtics teammates and staffers.

The five-time All-Star has missed the playoffs only twice since he was drafted third overall by Atlanta in 2007, but fell a series short with the Hawks (once) and the Celtics (twice) in his deepest ‘postseason’. ‘-runs.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” admitted Horford. “A lot of fights. I never got it of course [until now]but lots of great teammates along the way.”

Boston re-acquired Horford via trade last season, and the 35-year-old’s defense, size and leadership were just what the franchise needed to return to The Finals for the first time since 2010.

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

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

In addition to losing his own Finals-less streak, Horford also becomes the first player to represent the Dominican Republic in The Finals, a fact he celebrated enthusiastically as he wavered between Spanish and English when asked about the feat.

“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 this. We enjoy this one.”

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