‘My legs were tired’: Simmons stars
He may have spent plenty of time in the US but Ben Simmons has shown he's held on to his Aussie spirit.
Discussions have been in place about Simmons playing in the 2020 Olympics in green and gold but there's more to being an Aussie than pulling on the jersey - and Simmons has got it down.
He can now officially be called a fair dinkum larrikin.
Simmons scored a season-high 26 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to just miss a fifth triple-double of the year.
But in a third quarter reach-in foul which the commentators even thought was soft, Simmons, with a big smile on his face, went and took a seat in the crowd.
The action cost him a technical foul but it didn't matter in the long run as the Philadelphia 76ers ran out to a 126-101 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Speaking after the game, the Aussie superstar said there was a simple reason why he took a seat.
"I don't know if it was sitting down, but I didn't say anything so, it's probably from sitting down," he said about getting the foul.
"My legs were tired," Simmons finished as he sprung up and left the post-match media conference.
It was a nice to see a moment of fun for the otherwise serious Simmons.
In play, the Aussie put in a serious performance against a team who have had the wood over Philadelphia recently.
But the Raptors were missing Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka on the second night of a back-to-back stretch and the 76ers made them pay.
Joel Embiid had 23 first half points in a 27-point performance, while JJ Redick also scored 22.
Simmons said he'd worked hard to eliminate turnovers from his game as well, with just one error on the night.
"Every game has been a focus for me where I don't want to turn the ball over," he said post-match.
"As a guy who has the ball a lot, I don't want to have the most turnovers. It's not easy but if I pay more attention offensively, that's just a learning experience for us."
Redick praised the Simmons' recent performances, especially after two triple-doubles in his past four games and just narrowly missing a third against the Raptors.
"Ben tries to attack, he tries to be great, he tries to make plays every night," Reddick said.
"There's a level of effort and fortitude and force that he plays on a nightly basis and he's just so talented that he's going to have a bunch of nights like tonight and the other night when he had a triple-double. He's just really good."
It was Philadelphia's third victory in their last 23 games against the Raptors, who led by as many as seven in the opening half before the 76ers pulled away.
3OT THRILLER IN WASHINGTON
Bradley Beal had 40 points and his first career triple-double to lift the Washington Wizards over the Phoenix Suns 149-146 in triple-overtime Saturday night.
With All-Star point guard John Wall sidelined due to illness, Beal scored 10 points in the third overtime, including a slicing lay up that made it 146-144 with 40 seconds left.
He also had a career-high 15 assists and 11 rebounds.
Thomas Bryant added a career-high 31 points, hit all 14 of his shots and made all three of his free throws.
At one point, Bryant scored 16 of 18 points for Washington across a stretch of the first and second overtime. He also had 13 rebounds.
Devin Booker had 33 points and 14 assists for the Suns, who ended their four-game winning streak after giving back a seven-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
Deandre Ayton had 26 points and 17 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double but fouled out midway through the second overtime.
After going scoreless for nearly a 10-minute stretch in overtime, Beal scored eight straight points for Washington in the third extra period.
Later, he cut through several defenders for a lay up that gave the Wizards the lead for good, 146-144.
Tomas Satoransky and Jeff Green combined to make three of four free throws, with Booker hitting a leaning shot on the other end.
Booker tried to set up TJ Warren for a tying 3-pointer, but Warren's shot came after the buzzer.
Beal missed a potential winning floater to end the first overtime period, and Booker had his shot from a similar spot rim out to end the second.
GEORGE HOLDS OFF JAZZ
Paul George had 43 points and 14 rebounds to help the Oklahoma City Thunder hold off the Utah Jazz for a 107-106 victory Saturday night.
Jerami Grant and Steven Adams each scored 15 as the Thunder (21-10) won their fourth straight game and tied Denver for the best record in the Western Conference.
Three nights after scoring 43 against Sacramento, George went 15 for 25 from the field and made five 3-pointers while dishing out six assists.
George hit a jumper to extend Oklahoma City's lead to 106-97, but the Jazz fought back on the strength of their defence.
After a miss by Westbrook, Mitchell drove for a lay up to make it 107-105.
After Mitchell and Dennis Schroder exchanged steals, Westbrook fouled out trying to block Mitchell on a potential tying dunk with 1.5 seconds remaining.
Mitchell was slow to get up after hitting the floor hard, and his first free throw rimmed out. Mitchell launched the second free throw high, apparently attempting to generate a long rebound, but it swished through for the final margin.
Westbrook was on the bench with four fouls when Rubio made a 3-pointer to give the Jazz a 79-70 lead midway through the third quarter.
George scored 18 points in the last 6:04 of the period - on everything from driving dunks to spinning threes - to forge a 93-81 advantage after three free throws with five seconds left.
In all, the Thunder outscored the Jazz 23-2 when everything went through George.
He flexed while facing the Utah crowd on the baseline, he talked trash with Joe Ingles and he demanded the ball, even while drawing double-teams at times.
George didn't do it just by shooting.
In the fourth quarter, Mitchell looked as though he was headed for a breakaway dunk and George somehow took the ball from him.
A couple of plays later, the Jazz overplayed him and he deftly dropped the ball off to Adams for a dunk.
George took some time getting in a rhythm after off-season knee surgery and the Thunder lost four straight. Since then, George has become nearly unstoppable. In his last nine games, he has averaged more than 32 points on 47 per cent 3-point shooting.