Al Horford accomplished a career milestone Sunday night when the Boston Celtics clinched a trip to the NBA Finals, the first time he’s reached this point in the postseason in his career.

As the game ended, it was clear what it meant to Horford.

“Yeah, man, just didn’t know how to act,” Horford, the former Florida star, told the media after the game. “Just caught up, excited. A lot of hard work. I’ve been a part of a lot of great teams, a lot of great teammates, and I’m so proud of this group. These guys, I seen (Jaylen Brown) come in the league, take steps, take levels. I seen (Jayson Tatum) the same thing. I seen Smart grow. For me it’s just special to be with them and be able to help them and be a part of this. I’m really grateful to be in this position.”

Horford then reflected on how Boston got to the Finals, and said it started on defense.

“Our identity, defensively, hang our hat on the defensive end. And on offense, play freely, use Jaylen and Jayson and just kind of just go. And us understanding and buying into that. It took us a while, but I feel like once we started to understand how we needed to play, we became more consistent,” he said. “This journey is not easy. We had a hard path. Brooklyn, Milwaukee, the defending champs, and Miami it’s a team that look what they did, they took us to the brink. For our group it’s resiliency, it’s switching the page, moving on to the next thing, and we did that all season, and I really noticed it, and I was telling this to JB, but it was like February, early February, that I just noticed how we started to click.

People were like, well, you guys are beating teams that have guys out, guys are hurt and all these things, and I was like, it doesn’t matter, I’m seeing something different in how we’re playing. That’s how we’re just going to carry it on, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”