As the Celtics start fresh in a new season, Al Horford believes the chemistry they built during their improbable turnaround last year is still very much present.
“I felt like once we jelled together midway through last year, it kind of carried over,” Horford said. “When we got back this season, it’s kind of like buddies. You get back to school, everybody’s back hanging out together.”
Horford said that camaraderie is noticeable both on the court and off. He referenced a team dinner in Greensboro, North Carolina, and how several players checked out the Boston College-Clemson football game together in person.
“I feel like there’s more of that, and I just feel it’s because of how tight we got last year,” Horford said. “It’s kind of carried over. We’re really trying to embrace one another and get ready for what’s coming.”
That mindset extends to the newcomers, as Horford said the returning players are making a concerted effort to get the newest Celtics up to speed.
One of those players, Blake Griffin, has caught Horford’s eye. He called Griffin – who chipped in 7 points and 9 rebounds in 16 minutes in the Celtics’ preseason win over the Hornets – a “great guy to have around” and someone who “has a lot of perspective about the game.”
“He’s a vet that gets it,” Horford said. “He wants to be part of winning. He wants to do big things. He’s fit right in, quickly. He’s one of us already.”
Al Horford on Blake Griffin: "He's fit right in. He's one of us already"— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) October 10, 2022
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Horford also addressed Grant Williams’ offseason improvement and said his hesitation move against the Raptors “got us all in awe.” (No, Horford didn’t help him with that one.)
Williams has showed his versatility through three preseason games and appears ready to take another leap. With Robert Williams and Danilo Gallinari out, Horford and Williams will be even more critical for the Celtics.
“Grant’s a very smart player,” Horford said. “He continues to grow and learn. It’s pretty cool to see. You can tell he’s been working and he wants to show it.”
Horford on Grant breaking out the hesi: "That move just had us all in awe. Especially the finish, because he went in, inside hand with the left so the defender wouldn’t get there to block it. So he’s thinking the game. Grant’s a very smart player."https://t.co/Dwa0RGVIl4— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) October 10, 2022