Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Al Horford is now the oldest player in NBA playoff history with at least 20 points, 15 rebounds, five 3-pt and three blocks in a single game Via @celtics on X/Twitter

SEATTLE - Al Horford is another great example that age is just a number. The 37-year-old veteran had one of his best games in the playoffs to close out the series against the Cleveland Cavaliers and send the Boston Celtics to their third consecutive Eastern Conference Final.

Horford had a game for the ages: 22 points on 53% shooting from the field, 15 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and even contributed with one steal. No matter what the Cavs did, they simply couldn't stop Horford. He became the first player in NBA history with 20+ points, 15+ rebounds, 5+ three-pointers made and 3+ blocks in a playoff game.

Horford's 20-15-5 game also made him just the third player in NBA playoff history with that stat line at age 37 or older, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James. Not too shabby.

The most impressive part of his Game 5 heroics was perhaps his mentality. The Dominican was a full force in both ends of the court and shot the ball at a very high percentage from deep. Out of his 15 field goals, 13 of them were three-pointers and he sank six of them.

Despite his advanced age, Horford started and played 35 minutes and he is averaging at least 30 minutes per game since Kristaps Porzingis went down with an injury early in the first round of the playoffs (May 1).

After that type of performance, the whole team and arena gave Horford a standing ovation with Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla saying "tonight you saw his gift...his gift is just passion, inspiration, toughness, and competitive nature."

The importance of Horford in the Celtics' win was translated into a plus/minus of +26, the best of any Celtics player and his third-best ever in a playoff game.

"Tonight was a special night for our group because we had this chance to close it out here at home," Horford said at the end of the game. "And for me, the biggest thing was bringing energy."

It's not often that you see a 37-year-old play at the level that Horford played on May 15 against the Cavs. His sixth-made triple with less than one minute left in the game made him the second-oldest player in NBA playoff history with at least six triples in a game, joining Jason Kidd in 2011 who did it at 38 years old.

After wrapping things up in five games, the Celtics will make a third consecutive trip to the Easter Conference Finals. For Horford, it will be his sixth appearance in this round after 2015, 2017, 2018, 2022 and 2023. The Dominican is still looking for his first NBA Championship, as he fell short in his only trip to the Finals in 2022.

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