Al Horford defends missing Celtics-Heat game for birth of his daughter

Al Horford missed the Celtics’ game at Miami on Monday night to be with his newborn daughter, and Boston’s new $113 million star caught some heat from fans and the local media.

That did not sit well with Horford’s sister Anna and some of his followers on social media, who came to his defense, and on Tuesday he spoke out about his decision.

"My family’s very important to me,” Horford told reporters. “For me, I’m in more of a unique situation because this is our first year here and my wife, we all moved in the middle of the pregnancy. And just a lot going on. So I just felt like it was important for me to really be there, supporting her. And we have a son as well. So for her, it’s been a lot thrown at her these past few months. So I know that it meant a lot for me to be there with her."

Coach Brad Stevens, whose team got a 112-104 win at Miami in Horford’s absence, made it clear the team stood behind his decision.

"Our greatest responsibilities are as sons, husbands, fathers. I think that’s your No. 1 job,” Stevens told reporters. “We’re thrilled for the Horfords and we’re thrilled to have Al back at practice today and be ready to go tomorrow. Obviously, family is really really important.”

Horford brushed off the criticism, too.

“Everybody has their opinion. I respect anything that anybody has to say," Horford told reporters. "I care a lot about the group and our guys. For my family’s sake, it was important for me to be there for them. Just with our transition and everything. So that’s that. Now I can put that behind me and get focused again.”