Al Horford opens up on Boston Celtics' frontcourt trade deadline addition

Feb 7, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the second
Feb 7, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the second / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Al Horford had only good things to say about the Boston Celtics' frontcourt trade deadline addition, Xavier Tillman, after the C's 116-102 victory over the New York Knicks on February 24 at MSG.

“It’s been good to have X around,” Horford said (h/t MassLive). “I’m sure he’s going to be getting his opportunities here sooner than later. But just somebody that you can tell he’s very eager to learn. Right away, he’s been picking my brain a lot, asking a lot of questions and really trying to figure things out off the court, on the court. And when you have that kind of mindset, I feel like it’s going to be beneficial.

“Because he’s the kind of guy that wants to get better, he wants to have an impact, and he has that ability to have an impact on our group.”

Boston Celtics roster's chemistry and cohesion couldn't be better

The buy-in from Joe Mazzulla's players this season has been inspiring. Horford, the old warhorse who's done practically everything but win an NBA championship, is playing the necessary veteran bringing the 25-year-old under his wing and singing his praises to the media.

Fellow big Luke Kornet also said all the right things about the addition of Tillman; diffusing the competition narrative following the latter's Celtics debut on February 22.

“To be honest, I am not really concerned about (Tillman creating a backup big man competition) at all,” Kornet said in the locker room postgame on February 22 (h/t MassLive). “We’re excited to have Xavier here and I think he adds a piece that’s great for us, especially having the versatility in the playoffs and stuff I think is really important. We’re happy to have him and excited to have him as a teammate. I like the element he brings to our team."

Mazzulla's candidacy to lead this team used to be in doubt after the Cs went down 0-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat. That's no more given what we've seen thus far this season.

Doubting the future isn't even worth it right now. Everything is clicking for Boston, and if it continues like it has -- in a very 2008-type way no less -- there's no reason to put any non-Banner 18 energy out into the universe until further notice.

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