Dominant Simmons propels Sixers, Bucks streak toward Paris


Los Angeles (AFP)

Philadelphia's star guard Ben Simmons matched his career high with 34 points and added 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a triple-double that propelled the 76ers to a 117-111 NBA victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

Simmons, named during the game as the NBA's Eastern Conference player of the week, did it all in a dominant performance for a 76ers team trying to keep their playoff push on track despite the absence of injured big man Joel Embiid.

The Aussie star connected on 12 of 14 from the field in his fifth straight game with 20 or more points, achieving his fourth triple-double -- posting double figures in three key statistical categories -- of the season.

For good measure, he added five steals and two blocked shots.

"Ben was ridiculously dominant tonight," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "He was just multi-skilled, used all over the place in multiple positions, ball-handler, screen setter, post target. He was incredible."

The Nets, again without injured star Kyrie Irving, had 12 turnovers in the first three quarters then coughed up 10 in the fourth quarter.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 22 points for the Nets, who dropped their fourth straight.

Philadelphia trailed by 10 in the third quarter but scored the last eight points of the frame -- Simmons reeling off the last six -- to trim the deficit to one point entering the final period.

Simmons opened the fourth with a steal and a hook shot. He followed up by feeding Matisse Thybulle for a dunk, and the Sixers wouldn't trail again.

Philadelphia, holding down sixth place in the Eastern Conference, notched their fourth straight win.

Eastern Conference leaders Milwaukee improved their league-leading record to 39-6 with a 111-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists -- and scored his 10,000th career point -- as the Bucks notched a seventh straight win.

The Bucks were slowed by 23 turnovers -- 15 in the first half -- but held on to beat the Bulls for a 10th straight time.

Khris Middleton made 10 of 13 shots from the floor to score 24 points for the Bucks, who were headed Monday night to Paris where they take on the Charlotte Hornets on Friday in the first NBA regular-season game in the French capital.

The Miami Heat needed overtime to stay in second place in the East, rallying from an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit to triumph 118-113.

The Heat, trailing the Bucks by eight games, remained a game in front of the reigning champion Toronto Raptors, who pushed their winning streak to four games with a 122-117 victory over the Hawks in Atlanta.

Houston's Russell Westbrook notched another iconic triple-double moment, but his 32-point, 11-rebound, 12-assist performance for the Rockets wasn't enough in a 112-107 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Westbrook played his first 11 seasons for Oklahoma City, and they were the only team he hadn't recorded a triple-double against.

He joined LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to notch a triple-double against every team in the league.

But the Thunder, aided by 28 points from Chris Paul and 25 from Danilo Gallinari, erased a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to grab the win.