Aussie Simmons hits triple double as Sixers win in Detroit

AFP
Simmons became the first NBA player in 50 years to manage a triple double – double-digit game production in three statistical categories – within his first four league starts.
AFP
AFP

Ben Simmons (left) of the Philadelphia 76ers handles the ball against the Detroit Pistons during their NBA game at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, on October 23, 2017.

Australia's Ben Simmons set himself beyond such immortals as Michael Jordan and LeBron James with his first NBA triple double on Monday in only his fourth league contest for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 21-year-old from Melbourne, last year's NBA Draft top pick who missed all of last season with a right foot injury, scored 21 points, grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds and passed out a game-high 10 assists for the Sixers in a 97-86 triumph in Detroit.

"I felt like I needed to just kind of take over and find guys and make plays," Simmons said.

Simmons became the first NBA player in 50 years to manage a triple double — double-digit game production in three statistical categories — within his first four league starts.

And he's only the third NBA player to manage the achievement, joining Art "Hambone" Williams of the 1967-68 San Diego Rockets and Oscar Robertson of the 1960 Cincinnati Royals.

Those players went on to become NBA champions, Robertson with Milwaukee in 1971 and Williams with Boston in 1974.

The Aussie is also only the second player to open his NBA career with four double doubles, matching Robertson's rookie run.

Cameroon big man Joel Embiid scored 30 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for the 76ers, who took their first win of the season after three defeats.

"I'm just glad we won, honestly," said Simmons. "That means so much more than stats for me.

"It's awesome to have a triple-double but at the same time, it's even better to win, especially with these guys and a young team like this."

Simmons is averaging 15.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists through his first four NBA games.

"Him with the ball, able to do the things he does, produces a lot of these mismatches and numbers," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "We were able to post him — he's able to see over pick-and-rolls — and you see how gifted he is in early offense and the open court.

"He has got that breakaway speed that's jaw-dropping. And he's 6-foot-10 (2.03-meter). That stat line, we were kind of seeing snapshots of that in the first three games. It just seems a lot more special when it's associated with a win."

In their first game after coach Earl Watson was fired following an 0-3 start, host Phoenix outlasted Sacramento 117-115 with interim coach Jay Triano guiding the Suns.

De'Aaron Fox's jumper with 58 seconds remaining pulled the Kings even at 112-112, capping a 14-3 run, but Phoenix hit 5-of-6 free throws in the last minute — with Devin Booker, who scored 22 points, making two of those — and Garrett Temple missed a buzzer shot for the Kings.

Despite the tumultuous stretch for the franchise, Phoenix shot 54.5 percent from the field. Marquese Chriss scored 19 points, and Mike James finished with 18.

The Kings have dropped three of four to begin the season. Temple scored 23 points, and rookie Fox had 19 for the visitors.

Elsewhere in the National Basketball Association on Monday, it was: Bucks 103, Hornets 94; Wizards 109, Nuggets 104; Grizzlies 98, Rockets 90; Warriors 133, Mavericks 103; Heat 104, Hawks 93; and Spurs 101, Raptors 97.


Special Reports
Top