LeBron James has been the one to eliminate Al Horford from the postseason in three of Horford’s nine career runs. The odds say that James and the Cavaliers will bounce Horford, now with the Celtics, out of contention for a fourth time by the end of the third round, too.
But the opportunity to punch back is a reason why Horford opted to join the Celtics on a four-year, $113 million contract last July.
“One of the reasons why I signed here was just to be in this position,” Horford said on Tuesday. “I feel like with the group that we have, we can compete with anyone. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was just to beat the Cavs, but it just felt right to be here.”
In 12 career playoff games against James’ Cavs, Horford’s teams are 0-12, with Horford having played in all but one of those games (he missed Game 2 of their 2009 series because of an ankle sprain). It was Cleveland that ended Horford’s final run with the Hawks last spring as well, with a second-round sweep.
Every team — both Horford’s Hawks and James’ Cavs, of course — were vastly different on a year-to-year basis, and with a different organization entirely this time around, Horford feels that things could be different.
“I don’t regret anything, ‘cause I felt like yeah they beat me the last couple of years when I was with Atlanta, but with our teams, we felt like we gave them all we had, we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Horford recalled of his Hawks days. “This is a different circumstance for me with this group. I feel like with our group, I’m just excited to have this opportunity with this group of guys.
“[Tuesday] was a good, productive day. We came up with a good game plan we feel like. Looked at the film, getting our rest and just getting ready for [Game 1]. But I feel like we’re in a good place mentally as a group.”
Against a Cleveland team that not enters play as the reigning champs, but also beat them in three of four regular-season meetings and as a group that has yet to lose a game in the postseason, Horford knows the challenge in front of the underdog Celtics.
“Everybody is always going to roll with the champ until somebody beats them, right?” Horford said. “That’s just the way it is.”
But that doesn’t mean he’s going to shy away from the opportunity in front of his team.
“I’m excited to be in this position at this point of the year,” he admitted, “I wouldn’t say anxious, but I am excited.”
Full article @ Celtics star Al Horford excited for another crack against LeBron James
Source: GreenStreet Blog