NBA

Simmons triple-double helps 76ers take down Clippers, Rockets end Celtics streak

By Sports Desk February 12, 2020

A Ben Simmons triple-double inspired the Philadelphia 76ers to a 110-103 victory at home to Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA.

Simmons posted his second successive triple-double, finishing with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the 76ers in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

It was his sixth triple-double of the season and 30th of his career as the 76ers – who already boast the NBA's best home record at 25-2 – won their third straight to improve to 34-21 for the campaign.

Josh Richardson scored 17 of his 21 points in the final quarter, while Joel Embiid contributed 26 points at Wells Fargo Center.

Clippers superstar Leonard had 30 points for the visitors, who fell to 37-17 in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets snapped the Boston Celtics' seven-game winning streak.

James Harden registered 42 points and Russell Westbrook had 36 points to go with 10 rebounds as the Rockets trumped the Celtics 116-105 in Houston.

Gordon Hayward top scored with 20 points for the Celtics against the Rockets, who ended a run of back-to-back losses.

 

Zion stars as Pelicans soar

Zion Williamson produced another dominant performance. The star rookie had a season-high 31 points and nine rebounds in just 28 minutes as the New Orleans Pelicans topped the Portland Trail Blazers 138-117.

Zach LaVine put up 41 points but the Chicago Bulls still lost 126-114 at the Washington Wizards, who were led by Bradley Beal's 30.

The San Antonio Spurs snapped a five-game skid by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-106 thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge's 25 points and 14 rebounds.

 

George struggles in Philadelphia

Paul George never got going against the 76ers. The Clippers star was just three of 15 from the field and one of four from three-point range for 11 points in 35 minutes. He did have 12 rebounds for a double-double, but it was far from George's usual best.

After back-to-back games of 30 or more points off the bench, Furkan Korkmaz was drafted into Philadelphia's starting five at the expense of Al Horford. However, Korkmaz had a game to forget. In 23 minutes, he was scoreless – 0 of five from the field, while he missed all four of his attempts from beyond the arc.

 

Simmons… somehow

The Australian All-Star put on a show in Philadelphia. This incredible piece of improvisation sent the 76ers on their way.

 

Tuesday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 110-103 Los Angeles Clippers
Washington Wizards 126-114 Chicago Bulls
New Orleans Pelicans 138-117 Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs 114-106 Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets 116-105 Boston Celtics

 

Raptors at Nets

Riding a franchise-record winning streak, NBA champions the Toronto Raptors (40-14) will look to make it 16 straight victories when they visit the Brooklyn Nets (24-28) on Wednesday. The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers are also in action.

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    Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said he is feeling good but head coach Doc Rivers insisted the team will take a cautious approach ahead of the NBA playoffs.

    Leonard's arrival for the resumption of the 2019-20 season was delayed after being excused due to a family matter, with the Clippers flying to Orlando last week.

    The two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP trained with his team-mates on Monday – his first practice session since the league was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in March – as the Clippers prepare for the season to restart on July 30.

    The Clippers and Western Conference leaders the Los Angeles Lakers will headline the NBA's comeback on July 30 at the Disney World complex, and Leonard is ready.

    "Has it been four months?" Leonard said when asked about his health following a four-month break.

    "I mean, I feel good. You know, was able to work out, get strong and prepare for this moment now that we're in. It's about to be the first practice today, so I'm excited."

    In his first season with the Clippers after guiding the Toronto Raptors to their first championship, Leonard has been averaging 26.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.

    The Clippers, however, have managed a knee issue in 2019-20, with Leonard not playing in the second of back-to-back games this season.

    Asked about the Clippers (44-20) and their plans for Leonard leading into the postseason, Rivers – whose team are second in the west – said: "I don't know that yet. But no limits. Kawhi is healthy for the most part.

    "That still doesn't mean that we don't want to maintain him and get him through the first eight games and get ready for the playoffs. We want to be smart about this."

  • 76ers coach Brown excited to see Simmons at power forward ahead of NBA restart 76ers coach Brown excited to see Simmons at power forward ahead of NBA restart

    Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown is thrilled with Ben Simmons in the power forward position as the championship hopefuls look to change things up when the coronavirus-affected NBA season resumes.

    The 2019-20 NBA campaign is set to restart via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30 after the season was postponed due to COVID-19 in March.

    Philadelphia will return to action against Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers on August 1, boosted by the comeback of All-Star Simmons.

    Simmons – averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game this season – is back to full fitness after a back injury sidelined him in February, showcasing his ability at power forward, having played as a point guard.

    "He's so dynamic," Philadelphia's Brown said on a conference call with reporters on Monday. "Let's just talk about running. There's nobody faster in the NBA. So to always have the ball and dribble it up against five guys ... to do that dilutes some of his potent weapons.

    "So, watching him fly up the floor, watching him and Joel [Embiid] play off each other, has been a really good look. I think they've been fantastic together."

    Brown, whose 76ers (39-26) are sixth in the Eastern Conference, added: "You take somebody and say, 'Here's the ball.' It's not like Ben came in and we had Chris Paul on the team or Damian Lillard on the team. We were young, and really not that good, so it was my decision, 'You take the ball. We're going to make you the point guard.' It's not like there was an established point guard that he had to bump out.

    "[And] how has he responded to that? Like a star. Just a mature, 'Whatever it's going to take to get this team to be the best it can be with the pieces that we have that can be, I don't know, just designed into a smooth thing' ... that is one of the pieces he has to offer. He's been great accepting that, and really killing it in the environment that I just said."

    With the 76ers trialling Simmons at power forward, it means Shake Milton is set to replace the Australian as point guard, leaving Al Horford on the bench following his struggles since arriving from the Boston Celtics.

    Milton has averaged 9.5 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game in 2019-20, while he scored a career-high 39 points against the Los Angeles Clippers prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

    "He's been amazing," All-Star Joel Embiid said of Milton. "He's been the starting point guard, and I think he has a huge opportunity to help us accomplish what we believe we can.

    "He's been doing an amazing job and he's running the team and we're going to need him to knock down shots, which he did, before the league got shut down. He was on a roll so we're going to need him to keep it going. But it's great."

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    A takeout order for food has landed Sacramento Kings forward Richaun Holmes under a mandatory 10-day quarantine. 

    The 26-year-old admitted on Monday via Twitter that he left the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World over the weekend to pick up some food, and will not be able to participate in team activities until being cleared. 

    "After the initial quarantine period, I briefly and accidentally crossed the NBA campus line to pick up a food delivery," Holmes posted.

    "I am currently in quarantine and have 8 days left. I apologize for my actions and look forward to rejoining my teammates for our playoff push."

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    The five-year veteran is averaging a career-best 12.8 points and team-high 8.3 rebounds for a Sacramento team that currently has the 11th-best record in the Western Conference. 

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