Simmons sets tone as Sixers thrash Pistons
By Agence France-Presse
Australian rookie cset an early tone with 11 first-quarter points on Friday and his Philadelphia 76ers went on to crush the under-manned Detroit Pistons 114-78.
Cameroonian center Joel Embiid scored 23 points to lead six Philadelphia players in double figures.
JJ Redick added 21 and Simmons finished with 19 points, nine assists and four rebounds as the 76ers beat the Pistons for the third time this NBA season and improved to 19-19.
Philadelphia won’t play again until Thursday, when they meet the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics in London.
Detroit’s Tobias Harris delivered the first basket of the game, and from there it was all Philadelphia.
A 15-0 scoring run for the hosts ensued and the 76ers led by 25 points at the end of the first quarter.
They were ahead by as many as 40 in the second half and out-rebounded the Pistons 55-34.
Andre Drummond, who missed Detroit’s defeat at Miami on Wednesday with a right rib contusion, returned to action, scoring 10 points with eight rebounds and five assists.
But Detroit connected on just 38 percent of their shots from the field and clearly missed guard Reggie Jackson, absent with a sprained ankle.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, connected on 48.9 percent of their shots. All five starters scored in double figures and all five sat out the fourth quarter.
For Simmons and Embiid it was the kind of display that could boost their chances of featuring in next month’s All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said before the game that their chances in the All-Star voting would come down to victories.
“Do you win? That’s the thing that tips it,” Brown said. “You have sort of a popularity contest that goes on for a while, and then you have a respect vote, and we’re looking for the respect vote.” (AFP)