NBA

Simmons injured in 76ers loss, Heat honour retired Wade

By Sports Desk February 23, 2020

The Philadelphia 76ers lost Ben Simmons to injury in another NBA road defeat on Saturday, while the Miami Heat paid tribute to Dwyane Wade.

Simmons left a 119-98 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first quarter after aggravating an existing back problem and will reportedly undergo an MRI on Sunday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo relished his fellow All-Star's absence, putting up 31 points and 17 rebounds in a double-double that condemned Philadelphia to a sixth successive away loss.

The 76ers (35-22) sit fifth in the Eastern Conference, one place behind the Heat (36-20) following their 124-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The win added to a memorable occasion as Miami welcomed former favourite Wade back to AmericanAirlines Arena, officially retiring the number three jersey he wore during the team's NBA championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013.

Wade, 38, retired at the end of last season after returning to the Heat for his career swansong.

 

Harden hot in valuable Houston victory

James Harden hit a game-high 38 points while Russell Westbrook went 14-of-26 for 34 points as the Houston Rockets topped the Utah Jazz 120-110.

The Jazz struggled to handle Houston's small-ball approach and are now level with the Rockets at 36-20.

Kawhi Leonard tallied 31 points and eight rebounds but the Los Angeles Clippers lost for the third time in as many games, going down to the Sacramento Kings 112-103.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks overcame a nine-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to beat the Dallas Mavericks 111-107.

Trae Young and John Collins each recorded double-doubles to inspire the Hawks to their 17th win of a lean campaign.

 

Kawhi a lone performer for cold Clippers

Leonard did his part against the Kings at Staples Center but the reigning MVP had little help from his fellow Clippers starters, all of whom failed to reach double figures for points.

Reggie Jackson and Landry Shamet were particularly culpable, the pair making just three of their combined 12 three-point attempts.

 

Bam drops the hammer

Fresh from winning the Skills Challenge on NBA All-Star Weekend, Heat big man Bam Adebayo put on another show with a huge dunk against the Cavaliers.

 

Saturday's results

Sacramento Kings 112-103 Los Angeles Clippers
Brooklyn Nets 115-86 Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta Hawks 111-107 Dallas Mavericks
Miami Heat 124-105 Cleveland Cavaliers
Phoenix Suns 112-104 Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee Bucks 119-98 Philadelphia 76ers
Houston Rockets 120-110 Utah Jazz

 

Celtics at Lakers

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers entertain Jayson Tatum's Boston Celtics in the pick of Sunday's seven games.

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    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.

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    "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.

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