‘Absolutely absurd’: Simmons burns Celtics
BOSTON has been Philadelphia's bogey team in recent years but the 76ers have turned the tables this season and Ben Simmons did his best to ensure it stayed that way when the teams faced off again on Friday (AEDT).
The Sixers beat the Celtics in their first two match-ups this season and it was third time lucky as Philly scored a 109-98 win - a result made even more impressive considering it came without centre All-Star Joel Embiid, who was missing because of a torn ligament in his finger that requires surgery.
Simmons put up some impressive numbers as both sides strained to get ahead in a close contest, finishing with 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
But one play late in the third quarter stood out and is a certainty to make the highlights reel.
With less than two minutes to play before the buzzer, Boston tried to make a move on the break but it didn't count on the Aussie tracking back to spoil the party.
Running into Philly's back court, Simmons intercepted a pass meant for Jayson Tatum that would have resulted in an easy bucket.
Like an AFL player running back with the flight and spoiling a mark, Simmons knocked the ball down, regathered, then sprinted up the court in transition.
He dished up a no-look lob to Norvel Pelle, who finished the job for a simple lay-up.
Ben Simmons with a fantastic defensive play to break up what would have been a fast break layup, gathers the ball, pushes in transition and hits Norvel Pelle with a lob for a layup. Simmons' athleticism and size has given Boston all kinds of fits.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 10, 2020
Ben Simmons is absolutely ABSURD.— Dennis Chambers (@DennisChambers_) January 10, 2020
Heck of a defensive play by Ben Simmons there. #Sixers— Tom Moore (@TomMoorePhilly) January 10, 2020
Ben Simmons .. Transition gawd.— Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) January 10, 2020
The game was tight as Boston led 80-77 at the end of the third quarter before the 76ers roared to life in the fourth, stretching out to a five-point lead with 5:40 remaining and maintaining the rage to keep their nose in front until the end.
Josh Richardson was dynamite for Philadelphia, racking up 29 points and seven assists, and Tobias Harris (16 points) and Al Horford (17 points) also made vital contributions.