Al Horford Q&A with Peachtree Hoops

Al Horford took some time to help Hampton Hotels deliver a surprise for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta and also to answer some questions about this Hawks playoff run, the Gators and his brother in the Final Four.

Jason Walker: The team is gearing up for the playoffs -- is the approach going to be to rest the starters or go for it and play all the way through to the playoffs?

Al Horford: We want to play our best basketball and have that focus going into the playoffs, but we do need to get healthy. The other night in San Antonio, coach knew we had been logging a lot of minutes and we needed the rest.

JW: You could be playing Indiana, New York, Brooklyn -- what are the challenges with each of those?

AH: Indiana is just so great in the half court, with their defense and size, and the Knicks have Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, who are hard to handle --- and Brooklyn has Joe Johnson, who obviously we know very well and of course Deron Williams and (Brook) Lopez -- each will be a tough matchup for sure. We'll have to bring a lot of effort to win.

JW: Each of those teams presents a big challenge for you, personally, given that Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez and Tyson Chandler are all legit seven footers and can cause a matchup problem for you on your offensive end.

AH: There's no question about it, that's going to be a tough challenge -- we'll have to move the ball and I'll have to find my spots to be productive and find a way to win.

We want to play our best basketball and have that focus going into the playoffs, but we do need to get healthy.

JW: Shifting over, down the street, to the NCAA Tournament -- you have quite the crowded house over there right now.

AH: (Laughing) Yes, yes it is.

JW: It was you, not so long ago, who was going through this process and now your brother (Jon) is going through that -- what's that scene like?

AH: It's been a lot of fun watching my brother going through the process --- He was watching me five years ago with the Gators and now he is making his own history with his team.

JW: Have you given him any kind of advice or has he commented to you that it was just like you said it would be?

AH: I just told him to enjoy this process -- Coach Beilein has been great with them -- they were totally ready for all of this.

JW: For your brother to get this far, it meant they had to take out your alma-mater.

AH: That was hard for me (laugh) I am a Gator and wanted them to win, for sure.

JW: You had told me earlier in the year that the Gators would go as far as they listened to Coach Donovan and put out that kind of energy that was stifling teams defensively.

AH: Yes, they (the Gators) were overwhelmed -- Michigan had a tremendous amount of energy. Troy Burke is an incredible point guard and, especially in the college game, they really can control the game.

JW: Tell me about your relationship with Hampton Hotels/Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta

AH: I was just happy to be a part of this great event with Hampton Hotels and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta -- One of the things they did was renovate one of the gyms and donate equipment and the kids played a tournament.

JW: The kids didn't know you were going to be there, right?

AH: That's right -- The kids were super surprised, and they were asking me how tall I was, and were super psyched.

JW: You can relate to being that young and getting psyched like that.

AH: I can totally relate -- Anytime an pro athlete came in and hung out and played with us, showed us how to play basketball, anything, that was memorable. It was a real cool thing to surprise them, too. It was exciting for me to be involved.

Peachtree Hoops thanks Hampton Hotels and, of course, Al Horford, for the time today:

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