Horford's Latest Brilliance Not Enough in Phoenix
If you've followed the NBA closely these first two weeks of the season, you'd know the 76ers (5-1) were fulfilling early expectations just as much as the Phoenix Suns (5-2) were exceeding them.
So it was no surprise Monday at Talking Stick Resorts Arena that the young Suns were game for a challenge. And while Al Horford was once again brilliant, his season-best 32 points weren't enough for the Sixers to stave off a 114-109 defeat.
The loss, of course, marked the Sixers' first of the season. The club now shares the NBA's best record with Eastern Conference rival Miami, and the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the absence of Joel Embiid (suspension) the Sixers' past two games, Horford has been nothing short of exceptional. On the heels of a 25-point, seven-assist, five-rebound, decisive pick-setting performance in Saturday's dramatic victory at Portland, the 13-year vet nailed 13 of 20 shots against Phoenix, including 5 of his 8 3-point tries.
Horford also supplied five rebounds, four assists, and two steals en route to posting back-to-back 25-point games for just the second time in his All-Star career.
Tobias Harris was also stellar, manufacturing 24 points (10-20 fg) and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. Furkan Korkmaz established a new career-high with 20 points (6-13 fg, 4-7 3fg).
In a competitive contest that featured nine lead changes and 12 ties, the Sixers led by seven points on a Horford jumper early in the third quarter. The Suns cut the margin to one, 82-81, heading into the fourth period, then went up seven, 100-93, with six minutes to go.
An emphatic putback jam from Horford capped a 7-0 spurt that tied the tilt at 100-100, but Devin Booker notched nine of his 40 points in the final three minutes to nudge Phoenix across the finish line.
Click here for a complete box score.
With time expiring in the first half, Big Al certainly got the best of his former Boston frontcourt mate.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 5, 2019
The Sixers will visit Salt Lake City, where the Utah Jazz (4-3) haven't lost yet in three games this season. With Joel Embiid on track to return from his suspension, Wednesday's contest should set up a clash of two of the best bigs in the NBA, as the Utah Jazz will counter with two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.