Basketball

Gators in the NBA: Horford, 76ers break losing streak, Beal day-to-day

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant / Getty Images

The recent four-game road trip proved difficult for five-time All-Star Al Horford (center/power forward, Philadelphia 76ers).

Big Al didn’t register a single game in the stretch with at least 10 points or 10 rebounds, as the 76ers (24-14) dropped all four contests to slide to fifth in the Eastern Conference.

However, order was restored when Phili took its home floor against Oklahoma City on Monday night. Horford had 13 points, four rebounds and four assists, as the 76ers returned to their winning ways in a 120-113 triumph.

If you look on the surface of his statistics, yes, Horford’s production has taken a nosedive. His 12.3 points per game is the lowest average since his second year in the Association (11.5, 2008-09), and his 6.5 rebounds per game is a career low. However, Horford’s in a position with Philadelphia that he has never been in before, and aside from his recent road-trip woes, he has been a decent offensive presence for his squad.

Since entering the NBA, Big Al’s been a primary scoring option for every team in which he’s played. He was a reliable inside presence with the Hawks (alongside Jeff Teague and Josh Smith) and with the Celtics, where he complimented Isaiah Thomas then Kyrie Irving. But with the 76ers, he’s the fifth option, falling behind Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson and Ben Simmons.

But look at Horford’s stats per 100 possessions, and it’s impressive that he is hanging around his career averages despite taking an offensive back seat to Philly’s youth.

This year, Horford is averaging an estimated 113 points produced per 100 possessions with a field goal attempt. That’s actually on par with his 2015-16 All-Star season. And sure, he’s averaging a career-worst 10.2 rebounds per 100 possessions, but that’s very close to the 10.5 he averaged in his first season in Boston.

As Horford continues to gel with Philadelphia, expect his consistency to improve, and therefore, his numbers. He’ll look to do so Thursday against the Boston Celtics at 7 p.m.

Update: With star big man Joel Embiid out with a finger injury, Horford filled in at the five admirably. In 32 minutes of action, he came away with 17 points on 7-11 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. He also dished out six assists in th 76ers 109-98 victory.

Meanwhile, Bradley Beal’s (guard, Washington Wizards) production has ground to a halt, as he has been day-to-day with a lower leg injury. Beal was inactive for five of the last six games and is questionable to play against the Hawks on Friday night.

Dorian Finney-Smith (forward, Dallas Mavericks) continues to be a productive cog in the NBA’s top-ranked offense. He averages 9.0 points per game, good for fifth on the team, and is first in offensive rebounding with 1.9. He scored in double digits in Dallas’ last two games, and he’ll look to make it three-straight for the second time this season when the Lakers come to town on Friday night.

It has been a while since Chandler Parsons, Chris Chiozza or Udonis Haslem have seen the floor. Parsons last played for Atlanta in 26-point loss against Milwaukee on Dec. 27. Chiozza last saw action for the Wizards in a 17-point loss at Memphis on Dec. 14. And Haslem has yet to play for Miami since a 24-point win over Cleveland on Nov. 20.

Mark Stine is a contributing writer for Chomp Talk. Follow him on Twitter @mstinejr.

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