Simmons a ‘f***ing baby’ in NBA feud
The Ben Simmons-Giannis Antetokounmpo rivalry is real and it's spectacular.
The two eastern conference rivals butted heads in dramatic fashion during a tense 130-125 monster Sixers' win in Milwaukee on Monday (AEST).
Simmons and Antetokounmpo traded some savage dunks on each other down the stretch as the Sixers kept the best team in the east at arms length on their own court.
It reached a dramatic flashpoint in the final quarter as Antetokounmpo dropped a power jam on Simmons' head and then screamed in the Australian's face. Simmons turned and walked away back up the other end of the court.
The star known as the Greek Freak then kept screaming as he strutted down to the other end of the court and was spotted mouthing the words: "He's a baby. A f***ing baby".
Simmons got his revenge less than 15 seconds later on the Sixers' next possession, slamming down a rebound put-back that left Giannis looking foolish under the rim.
Simmons followed up his savage jam by screaming back in Antetokounmpo's face before jogging buck up the court extremely pumped up.
The Milwaukee crowd screamed for the referees to hit Simmons with a technical foul for antagonising their superstar, but the referees knocked down their appeal.
Simmons was the unfortunate Sixer to be given the job of trying to stop Antetokounmpo in the final quarter. Philly coach Brett Brown had already tried everything without finding a solution.
In the last quarter he turned to Simmons, but it couldn't stop Giannis from recording a monster 52 points and 16 rebounds.
Simmons finished with eight points, nine boards and nine assists, but teammate Joel Embiid stole the show with 40 points and 15 rebounds as the Sixers notched a fourth-straight win.
It was Embiid's 52nd double-double and the 25th time he has scored at least 30 points and swept 10 rebounds in a game.
Simmons and Antetokounmpo showed there was no bad blood at the end of the game, sharing a hug at half-court after the Sixers eventually prevailed by five points.
However, Antetokounmpo was less than flattering of Simmons while speaking in his post-match media duties.
"I'd rather Ben guard me than Joel. It's simple," Embiid said after he also chose the job of guarding Simmons and keeping the Melbourne product to just eight points.
The rivalry is one expected to continue in the playoffs this year with the No. 1 Bucks and the No. 3 Sixers a very real chance of meeting in the eastern conference finals.
It was only a taste of the emerging rivalry, but it was enough to make NBA commentators lose their minds.
Brown will be hoping to find a new defensive system to combat Antetkounmpo's dominance in the paint.
He proved unstoppable when Brown had previously tried to use Joel Embiid and giant Boban Marjanovic to guard him.
It did not end well.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler had 27 and JJ Redick 19 for the Sixers, who officially clinched an eastern conference playoffs spot.
The Bucks played without guard Malcolm Brogdon, who will be sidelined for at least six weeks with a plantar fascia tear in right foot.
The Sixers built a 62-53 lead at half-time thanks in large part to Embiid, while Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 17 points and seven rebounds.
But Philadelphia came out aggressive in the fourth and extended its advantage to 98-86 with 9:34 left when Mike Scott drained a three-pointer before riding home on the back of Butler and Embiid efforts.
Elsewhere, Emmanuel Mudiay highlighted his 28-point performance with a pair of late free throws as the NBA-worst New York Knicks erased an 11-point deficit late in the fourth quarter for a 124-123 victory over the visiting LA Lakers.
Damyean Dotson scored 25 points and Kevin Knox chipped in 19 for the Knicks, who posted their first win in almost a month. LeBron James scored 33 points for the Lakers after sitting out Friday's 111-97 setback versus Detroit for what the team called "load management" reasons.
Miami Heat also defeated the Charlotte Hornets 93-75, while the Pistons proved too strong for the high-flying Toronto Raptors, triumphing 110-107.
- with AFP