The Philadelphia 76ers escaped with a 119-116 win over the Indiana Pacers in a wire-to-wire thriller, thanks to three huge defensive plays from Ben Simmons down the stretch.
With the 76ers trailing 114-113, Simmons came up with the clutch steal, taking it coast-to-coast before finding Tobias Harris for the dunk with 9.9 seconds remaining.
He then followed it up with a steal on the Pacers' inbound, finding Harris again, who knocked down two free throws to ice the game, putting them up 117-114 with 5.1 seconds left.
On the final possession, the Pacers launched it long to try and get a late three, only for Simmons to intercept the pass.
Simmons was simply everywhere down the stretch.
Ben Simmons with ANOTHER big time steal for the @sixers! #IndianaStyle 116#PhilaUnite 117- NBA (@NBA) December 1, 2019
3.8 left on @NBATV pic.twitter.com/fjvYRG6Rax
"I love playing defence," Simmons told NBC Sports Philly post-game. "There's a sense of pride in that for me, especially being a part of the Sixers, I'm in Philadelphia and guys want to see you play hard."
The Aussie point guard finished with 15 points, 13 assists, six rebounds and four steals as the 76ers remain unbeaten at home (9-0) and 14-6 on the season.
While he struggled offensively, going 4-of-13 from the field, he made his presence felt on the defensive end all night, switching between hounding the perimeter and bodying the Pacers bigs, setting the tone for his team with a series of highlight plays - none bigger than this monster chasedown block on Malcolm Brogdon.
😤 Simmons races back for the chasedown! 🚫 #PhilaUnite- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) December 1, 2019
📲🖥 Watch live: https://t.co/5kUZEUZvvX pic.twitter.com/BDVMjTbP1X
Joel Embiid brought the aggression on the offensive end, recording 32 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, knocking down 15-of-15 from the free throw line as he put the Pacers frontourt under pressure on both ends.
Myles Turner finished with just three points and three rebounds as he battled foul trouble, while Domantas Sabonis recorded 13 points and 10 rebounds, fouling out with 1:54 remaining.
Harris added 22 points for the 76ers, Al Horford 15 and Furkan Korkmaz 12 as all five starters finished in double figures.
Philly built a 15-point lead in the second quarter, before the Pacers rallied to tie things up at 65-65 at the half. Both teams traded buckets in a tight third quarter, setting up a grandstand finish as they entered the fourth quarter locked at 93-93.
T.J. Warren led the Pacers with 29 points on the night, while Malcolm Brogdon added 28 points and six assists as their five-game win streak came to a halt on the road.