Critics will argue that Al Horford’s performance came against the woeful Detroit Pistons.
But in the 76ers’ 124-106 victory Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the power forward had the type of effort that could prove his doubters wrong.
For most of the season, his frontcourt pairing with All-Star center Joel Embiid has been a failure. So much so that the thought was the Sixers made a huge miscalculation by signing him to a four-year, $97 million contract in July.
Well, they both had solid performances against the Pistons (20-46), who lost their fifth straight game and 12th out of 13.
Embiid had a team-high 30 points to go with a game-high 14 rebounds after missing the previous five games with a left shoulder sprain. Horford had 20 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks.
In addition to serving as the starting power forward, Horford also was Embiid’s backup at center. So the two weren’t always on the court at the same time.
Tobias Harris finished with 15 points and five 5 assists, Shake Milton scored 12 points, and reserve Furkan Korkmaz had 14 points.
Former Sixer Christian Wood finished with a game-high 32 points for Detroit.
The Sixers improved 39-26 overall and 29-2 at home.
They also welcomed back starting shooting guard Josh Richardson. He missed the last three games while in concussion protocol.
The team is still without All-Star Ben Simmons, who missed his eighth game with a pinched nerve in his lower back. The point guard will be reevaluated in three weeks.
As a result, the Sixers had a starting lineup of Harris, Horford, Embiid, Richardson, and Milton.
But for the second straight game, the Sixers were facing a team that was also as banged up.
Six-time All-Star power forward Blake Griffin had left knee surgery in January. The injury has actually sidelined him since late December. Like Griffin, Luke Kennard (bilateral knee, patellar tendinitis) has been out since December.
Standout sixth man and former league MVP Derrick Rose (right ankle sprain) missed his fourth straight game.
The Pistons (20-46) had a starting lineup that consisted of Wood, Svi Mykhailiuk, Thon Maker, Tony Snell, and Brandon Knight.
Pistons reserve Langston Galloway, the former St. Joseph’s standout, scored 13 points and wore his “Kobe/Gigi Tribute” Q4 sneakers in honor of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.
In January, the Lower Merion High and Los Angeles Lakers great and his daughter were among the nine killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles. Bryant, 41, was traveling to a youth basketball function with, Gianna, 13, when the helicopter crashed.
Galloway also wore a Mark Macon Pistons jersey to the arena in honor of the former Temple standout and Pistons player.