Al Horford Breaks Infamous Playoff Record With Finals Berth

Al Horford

Getty Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics.

Al Horford has been in the NBA for 15 years. In those 15 seasons, Horford has made the playoffs all but one time, which happened to be last season when he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder. By participating in Game 7 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, Horford had played in 141 playoff games, which is impressive, but it was also the most playoff games an NBA player had ever played while not making an NBA Finals.

When the Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 100-96 on May 29, 2022, to advance to the NBA Finals, Horford no longer held that record.

The next two on the list, Paul Millsap and Joe Johnson, were players who Horford had previously played with when he played for the Atlanta Hawks. Although both played with Horford for multiple years in Atlanta, Johnson and Millsap were never teammates, as Johnson played with Horford from 2007 to 2012 while Millsap played with Horford from 2013 to 2016.

How Boston’s Finals Berth Effects Horford’s Contract Situation

When Al Horford first agreed to his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers back in 2019, the last year of his four-year deal came with specific incentives related to team success.

According to Spotrac, if the team Horford played on never made the NBA Finals in any of the first three years of his contract, the last year of his deal would be only partially guaranteed for $14.5 million. With the Celtics making the 2022 NBA Finals, that is no longer a possibility.

Now that the Celtics are finals-bound, Horford’s partial guarantee goes up from $14.5 million to $19.5 million. All that remains contract-wise for Horford is whether Boston can reach their final destination by winning the 2022 NBA Championship.

If Boston wins it all, the last year of Horford’s deal becomes fully guaranteed at $26.5 million. Even if they don’t win the title, it’s hard to envision Boston not fully guaranteeing the last year of Horford’s contract anyway knowing how much they’ve depended on him in the 2022 postseason.

In Game 7 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, Horford played 44 of a possible 48 minutes, which is the most he’s played for them in a single game of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Until he’s proven to be unreliable, Horford’s most likely staying put in Boston for next season.

Al Horford Reaches a New Milestone by Making the NBA Finals

Throughout the NBA’s 75 years, the league has had a total of 10 players from the Dominican Republic, according to RealGM. Excluding Al and his father Tito Horford, the following eight players make up the rest of the bunch.

-Karl-Anthony Towns (currently playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves)
-Chris Duarte (currently playing for the Indiana Pacers)
-Charlie Villanueva
-Francisco Garcia
-Felipe Lopez
-Angel Delgado
-Luis Flores
-Luis Montero

By making the 2022 NBA Finals, Horford became the first Dominican NBA player to accomplish such a feat. Horford was asked about this in his postgame press conference after the Celtics won the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals, to which he was more than happy to respond.

I’m very very grateful, very very excited… We’re here in Miami, really close to (the Dominican Republic). I know my family is happy. Everybody is happy. Everybody is watching. The country was watching and everybody was there. They were sending me pictures. They were ready for this, and we’re enjoying this one.

Given how long he’s played in the NBA, Horford’s excitement about making his first NBA finals as a pro is more than understandable.

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