Ben Simmons just did something that no NBA player has ever done.
The Australian’s form has gotten better and better as the Philadelphia 76ers continue to play without Joel Embiid, and, on Tuesday (AEDT), he put up what’s probably the best stat-line of his career.
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In fact, it’s one that’s never been done in the history of the league. Simmons put up 34 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, five steals, and two blocks — the first player to ever post it, according to Basketball Reference — as the 76ers rallied to defeat the Brooklyn Nets 117-111.
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Simmons willed himself to the line in the first half, before excelling as a screener as the game came to a close. He shot 12-of-14 from the field and 10-of-14 from the free throw line, leading the 76ers to a fourth straight win, and five of seven without Embiid, who’s out with a hand injury.
He was also the leader of an impressive defensive effort from the 76ers, who held the Nets under 40 percent from the field to improve to 29-16 on the season.
“I just came in with that mindset to win,” Simmons said after the win. “I know it’s going to be tough every time we play teams like this.”
Al Horford stepped up in Embiid’s absence, too, posting 19 points and six rebounds, while coming up big defensively down the stretch.
The Nets were led by Spencer Dinwiddie, who finished with 22 points, five rebounds, and seven assists in the loss. Kenny Atkinson’s team was playing without Kyrie Irving, and fell to 18-24 with the loss.
Over the 76ers’ last seven games — all of which have been without Embiid — Simmons has averaged 21.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 2.1 steals per game, while shooting 62.7 percent from the field. The 76ers are 5-2 during that stretch, mostly against sub-.500 teams.
“Just his determination,” 76ers head coach, Brett Brown, said of Simmons’ performance.
“Like, there was a determination, there was a spirit, there was a committed performance offensively and defensively that he just wasn’t going to let the team lose.”
Olgun Uluc is the Senior Basketball Reporter for Fox Sports Australia. Twitter: @OlgunUluc