Al Horford raves about Boston Celtics trade deadline addition after big win over Suns

Mar 14, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Phoenix Suns guard Bradley Beal (3) controls the ball
Mar 14, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Bradley Beal (3) controls the ball / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Al Horford praised the man his sister Anna admitted she confuses him on the court with, Xavier Tillman, after the Boston Celtics knocked off the Phoenix Suns 127-112 on March 14 at the TD Garden.

“Xavier’s super easy to play with,” Horford said postgame (h/t MassLive). “On the court, he’s making the right read, he’s making the right play, he can defend really well, moves his feet really well, just makes the game easy for me, takes a lot of pressure off me when I’m out there with him. He just knows how to play, so I’m really excited to be able to play with him and develop that chemistry.”

While speaking to the team's performance at large, Horford praised the Cs for not going through the type of malaise that consumed them in 2023; and typically tends to down contenders at this point in the schedule.

“I really liked the mindset of our group tonight,” Horford said. “Just understanding what was in front of us. It’s a long season. Sometimes this kind of happens in the schedule and for us to find a way to compete and battle, and I felt like we did that all night. We knew we were going to get their best shot and we just stayed the course and continued to make energy plays and continued to play hard.”

Joe Mazzulla praised Xavier Tillman's versatility in Boston Celtics rotation

Unsurprisingly, Joe Mazzulla is similarly high on Tillman as the most-tenured veteran on the Celtics. The head coach praised Tillman's versatility back on March 1 after a 138-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

“He’s a guy that can help our switchability and still have size,” Mazzulla told reporters postgame (h/t “So that’s one of the things that I’m grateful for with this team, is they keep an open mind and they have an understanding that we do what’s best for the team and what impacts winning. And so we felt like that was the right thing to go to tonight to continue to switch them, and it’s a credit to him and a credit to the rest of the guys for understanding that’s what’s most important.”

Boston has been rolling all season, but the additions of Jaden Springer and, in particular, Tillman, have added momentum to the team during a time they likely would've otherwise struggled.