Horford Big, on and off the Court

by Lauren Rosen

Al Horford is one of the best, most respected veterans in the league.

And he’s an equally great teammate.

Horford's basketball prowess was on full display Monday in South Philadelphia, as he put together one of his best performances in a Sixers uniform.

The big man got off to a hot start, hitting his first six attempts from the field. 

In the first quarter alone, Horford recorded 12 points (including two threes), three rebounds, an assist, and a block.

“I was happy I was able to get it going there early,” Horford said. “I think it all starts with our defense. We were able to get stops and then get out and run.” 

The big man finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists, a steal, and two blocks in the win.

But even while stuffing the stat sheet, Horford puts equal, if not greater, emphasis on leading his younger teammates.

“He’s done a lot, not just for me, but for the team,” Matisse Thybulle said.

Thybulle explained that when he gets into foul trouble, Horford is his biggest advocate - getting feedback from referees about how Thybulle can improve.

“[He] comes back to me with advice on how to do it next time,” Thybulle said. “[He’s] helping me understand that this is the NBA, and things are different, and coaching me through a lot of that.”

James Ennis III sees it too.

“[Horford] always has something to say - good vibes from him,” Ennis III said. “He’s been in the league for a long time, been to the playoffs his whole career... I’m happy he’s here, you can learn a lot from him.” 

While Horford's leadership has priceless value, he also continues to play at a high level. 

Horford has scored in double digits in each of his last six appearances. He’s made six of his last seven 3-point attempts, and hasn’t missed a free throw since Nov. 17.

The All-Star has also dished out at least two assists in every game he’s played this season.

But Horford knows there’s much more to do.

“We’re making strides, but we’re not where we need to be. We just have to continue to work,” Horford said. “The good thing is that it’s only December. We’re starting to understand how coach wants us to play, and we’re getting better each day.”

Next opportunity to get better comes Thursday, as Horford and his comrades visit the Wizards for the first time this season.

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