Memo to NBA fans: Talk trash to Al Horford at your own peril.
The Boston Celtics had just two points at halftime of Thursday's Game 6 against the Hawks in Atlanta and had yet to reach double digits in the previous five games of this first-round matchup.
But then a fan at State Farm Arena started letting Horford hear it -- and Playoff Al was activated when the Celtics needed him most.
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With the game tied at 113-113 and under four minutes remaining, Horford drilled a 3-pointer in front of the bench and immediately started jawing at a fan in the stands. Horford's deep ball was part of a 14-3 run that helped Boston surge to a 128-120 victory and punch their ticket to the second round.
After the game, the veteran big man admitted he drew motivation from that heckler.
"Yeah, there was somebody there," Horford told reporters. "I'm not gonna call him out, but he was -- I appreciate it, because he got me going. He said some stuff there that I wasn't very pleased with, and I took it to heart. I was able to get that shot, so I appreciate him for talking trash to me.
"Some people you can talk trash to. You talk trash to me, probably not good for you."
That's an epic quote from Horford, who finished with 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting while adding 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks in the victory. It also called to mind Horford's iconic moment against the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2022 playoffs, when he responded to Giannis Antetokounmpo's stare-down by dunking on the Milwaukee Bucks star later in the game.
Horford hasn't been the offensive presence he was last postseason, but Thursday was a reminder that he can still step up in big moments -- especially when given an extra push.