Ben Simmons came to play!
After a poor performance against the Washington Wizards, Simmons bounced back in style with one of the most dominant performances of his career, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a comfortable 141-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In just 26 minutes on court, the Aussie poured in 34 points on 12-of-14 shooting, adding seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks as the 76ers continue their unbeaten run at home (11-0).
He knocked down 9-of-12 from the free-throw line and impressively only had one turnover for the game.
Simmons did the bulk of his damage in the first half, scoring 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting, the most he's scored in any first half of his career.
The 23-year-old set the tone from the jump with his aggressive mindset, opening the scoring with this emphatic one-handed jam....and it was all downhill from there.
Ben Simmons opens the scoring with the one-handed hammer 💪 #PhilaUnite- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) December 8, 2019
📲🖥 Watch live: https://t.co/5kUZEUZvvX pic.twitter.com/zY7ffoyuvD
Philly shot the lights out in a dominant first half, connecting on 32-of-45 from the field (71.1%), notching 25 assists on their 32 made field goals.
With Simmons getting out in transition at every opportunity, the 76ers were living at the rim, scoring 40 of their 77 points in the paint as they raced out to a 77-36 half-time lead.
The @sixers 77 first-half pts are the most the team has scored in any half this season.- Sixers Stats (@SixersStats) December 8, 2019
The last time the team posted 77-plus in a first half was on Jan. 15 vs. MIN (83). It's the 22nd time since '54-55 that the team has scored at least 77 points in a first half.
With the result beyond doubt midway through the third quarter, Simmons exited the game to a loud chorus of cheers from the home crowd after bringing up his career-high 34th point off this alley-oop flush from Trey Burke.
Simmons' previous career-high of 32 points came in February 2018 against the Chicago Bulls.
Make that a career-high 34 points for Ben! 💥#PhilaUnite pic.twitter.com/HogMJeXc59- NBA TV (@NBATV) December 8, 2019
Simmons drains another three!
While Simmons was dominating inside the paint, he continued to show off his evolving range from the three-point line, knocking down the second three-pointer of his career.
Brimming with confidence, Simmons was left wide open in the left corner, with Tristan Thompson daring him to shoot and he did just that, putting his team up 61-28 with 3:41 remaining in the half.
Needless to say, he sent the Wells Fargo Center crowd into hysterics.
🇦🇺 @BenSimmons25 from downtown! 🎯🎯🎯 #PhilaUnite pic.twitter.com/JVqbNwgB1t- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) December 8, 2019
It's an encouraging sign for the 76ers that Simmons is building confidence in his shot from deep and after starting his career 0-of-17 from deep, he's now 2-of-4 since.
Simmons turns up the heat on both ends
Simmons' aggression on the offensive end was obvious, but his development on the defensive side of the floor has been a bright spark for the 76ers this season.
His length on the perimeter bothered the Cavs' backcourt all night as he effectively played the passing lanes, cut off drives and created transition opportunities at every turn.
When he's causing havoc like that on the defensive end, the offence comes easy.
Philly turned 18 Cavs turnovers into 29 points and finished with 30 fast-break points on the night, with Simmons instrumental on the defensive end.
He finished with two blocks on the night, none more impressive than his rejection on Darius Garland's three-point attempt late in the second quarter.
Just look at this patience from Simmons:
No Embiid, no problem
The 76ers were without two starters in Joel Embiid and Josh Richardson, but Simmons more than made up for their absence.
With a starting lineup of Mike Scott, Furkan Korkmaz, Al Horford and Tobias Harris surrounding the Aussie, featuring that many shooters on the floor with Simmons gave him the space in the paint to operate.
With a number of shooters on the floor, it made life tough for the Cavs who couldn't afford to help off the perimeter, allowing Simmons to treat the key like his own personal runway.
The 76ers now turn their attention to a marquee matchup with the Toronto Raptors and given Embiid's struggles against the defending champs, could we see similar lineups get more burn tomorrow?
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