James Harden (right) tries to get past Nick Claxton during the Philadelphia 76ers’ victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Tim Nwachukwu/AFP
A losing comeback for Ben Simmons. Switched from Philadelphia to Brooklyn last year, the Australian point guard was once again confused with the Nets on the Sixers’ court on Wednesday in the NBA.
After leaving Philadelphia a year ago amid dressing room tensions with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons was once again slammed by his former crowd. And that tense reunion seemed to take its toll on the floor, with a prolific and very tense first quarter (41-41) but also errors (13 in total). A climate that 6ers coach Doc Rivers didn’t like despite winning. “There is a difference between building up tension and overflowing with emotion,” he commented. “Honestly, I thought we were wrong tonight. We need to better contain our emotions,” Rivers said again.
In this hostile atmosphere, Ben Simmons was cautious (12 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists), leaving the leading roles to Seth Curry – Stephen’s brother – and Kyrie Irving (32 and 30 points respectively).
Faced with the Nets still missing Kevin Durant (knee), the Joel Embiid-James Harden double did the job overall with 39 points. But the Sixers’ top scorer (27 points) was Tyrese Maxey off the bench. Embiid also grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Cameroonian key player, who recently naturalized French and American, will also decide whether he plays for France “after the end of the NBA season” scheduled for June, he told sports daily L’Équipe. “I’m focused on this NBA season because we have a good opportunity to be a champion with the 6ers. I want my head to be 100% here,” the 28-year-old Embiid replied in this interview, published on Thursday by Sports daily. “We will make a decision after the end of the season,” he added, while the Blues have a major deadline for the World Championships, which will take place from August 25 to September 10 in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Lillard (again) for 60 points
On the rise this season, Philadelphia maintains its 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 31 wins (16 losses) behind Boston (35-14), but still ahead of Milwaukee (31-17) at the same time defeated Denver ( 107-99).
Giannis Antetokounmpo put on a show for the Bucks (33 points and 14 rebounds). But the biggest performance of the night came in Oregon, where Damian Lillard scored 60 points in Portland’s 134–124 win over the Utah Jazz. This marks the 4th time in his career that the Blazers leader, with 21-of-29 shooting, has scored 60 points or more. “It was great. We don’t have the opportunity to see this so often,” his coach Chauncey Billups correctly noted. This is really only six players in the history of the NBA, including Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and James Harden, who scored several times 60 points.
Pelicans take a beak
“Even when things didn’t go the way I wanted, I felt like I could get us back in the game,” said Lillard, who, however, will have to multiply his exploits to lead the Blazers to the playoffs. Portland does indeed rank a modest 12th in the West, just ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers who beat San Antonio (113-104) in a game in which LeBron James made a small double-double (20 points, 11 assists).
In San Francisco, in the last game of the evening, Jordan Pool hit the winning basket (122-120) for the Golden State Warriors with 2.4 seconds to go against the Memphis Grizzlies.
A minute earlier, the NBA champions lost their star Stephen Curry (34 points), who was eliminated for the third time in his career only after throwing a mouth guard in a moment of desperation. In his defense, the game gave a breathless transition to the score.
Prior to this, the New Orleans Pelicans lost again to the Minnesota (102–111). Without Zion Williamson, the Louisians are six losses in a row. They remain fourth in the West, but now they see a growing flock in the rearview mirror.
Source: L Orient Le Jour
I am a sports journalist with over 10 years of experience covering news, events and stories from around the world. I have written for several online news outlets and have also been published in print magazines. I am currently working as an author at the World Herald News, where I cover primarily sports-related stories.