Al Horford ‘ecstatic’ to be part of NBA London trip

Al Horford (Photo: Keith Allison)

Boston Celtics star Al Horford can’t wait to head across the pond to London, as his team get ready for NBA London 2018.

Horford has been one of the key components for the Celtics this season as they top the Eastern Conference standings despite the loss of Gordon Hayward to injury.

With London set to play host to the Celtics and the 76ers this month, the 31-year-old can’t wait to head to British shores.

“I’m very excited. As soon as we found out earlier this summer we were going to play in London, my wife and I were just ecstatic, very happy about it.” he said.

“I’m really trying to make the most out of the trip. We’ve been to London before. We love the city.

“So we’re looking forward to spending a couple days over there.”

Of course, whilst the trip will be an experience for both sets of players, there is the matter of a regular season game to take place.

Boston have been one of the best teams in the league so far this season, and Philadelphia are continuing their growth after years of building assets. So, the game promises to be a showcase of two exciting teams currently battling in the East.

With this in mind, Horford is keen to continue improving as a team, using NBA London as just another game to do that.

“I think the focus always has to be on the night tonight, but I do sit back and look at the big picture.” Horford said.

“We’ve had a lot of adversity as a group, a lot of guys that have never played in the NBA that have come in and had an impact.

“I look at all that and I do appreciate the progress and how well we’ve played.

“But then also at the same time, I always bring myself back down, and it’s important for us to focus on the game to game and the process and just continue to get better. And I think that’s the key for our group.

“I think that one of the strengths of our team is the ability of always being able to change. Coach has challenged us a lot, changing lineups, because of injuries or things.

“But I’ve felt like our team has handled that really well. Guys are not making excuses.

“We’re stepping up to the challenge, and we’re trying to make the most of what we have.”

Of course, being one of the veteran players on the Celtics’ roster, Horford also has a big role to play in the locker room as well as on the court with the way he helps the younger players develop and buy-in to the plan the franchise has.

And he admits that some of the younger players have really kicked on since the changes during the off-season.

“I’ve been very encouraged by how quickly some of our younger guys have been able to come along and help
us as a team.” he said.

“Part of our success is because they’ve been able to do what Coach [Brad Stevens] is asking of them. They’ve been put in tough positions, and they’ve been able to handle it really well.

“I feel like they’re going to continue to get better, and I’ll be very eager to see how we’re looking at the end of the year because I feel like they’ll be much more comfortable and we’ll be better as a group.”

The Philadelphia 76ers host Al Horford and the Boston Celtics at The O2 in London on Jan. 11 as part of NBA London Game 2018. The game is live on BT Sport or via NBA LEAGUE PASS. (Photo credit: Keith Allison/Flickr)

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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