Basketball

Simmons, 21, hits triple-double in fourth NBA game

Australian youngster Ben Simmons set himself beyond greats such as Michael Jordan and Lebron James with his first NBA triple-double in only his fourth league contest for the Philadelphia 76ers yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The 21-year-old from Melbourne, last year's NBA draft top pick who missed all of last season with a right foot injury, scored 21 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

He also passed out a game-high 10 assists for the Sixers in a 97-86 triumph at Detroit.

"I felt like I needed to just kind of take over and find guys and make plays," Simmons said.

Simmons became the first NBA player in 50 years to manage a triple-double - double-digit game production in three statistical categories - within his first four league starts.

He's only the third NBA player to achieve the feat, joining Art "Hambone" Williams of the 1967-68 San Diego Rockets and Oscar Robertson of the 1960 Cincinnati Royals.

Those players went on to become NBA champions, Robertson with Milwaukee in 1971 and Williams with Boston in 1974.

The Aussie is also only the second player to open his NBA career with four double-doubles, matching Robertson's rookie run.

Cameroon's Joel Embiid scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the 76ers, who won their first game of the season after three defeats.

"I'm just glad we won, honestly," said Simmons. "That means so much more than stats for me.

"It's awesome to have a triple-double but, at the same time, it's even better to win, especially with these guys and a young team like this."

Simmons is averaging 15.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists through his first four NBA games.

"Him with the ball, able to do the things he does, produces a lot of these mismatches and numbers," 76ers coach Brett Brown said.

"We were able to post him - he's able to see over pick-and-rolls - and you see how gifted he is in early offence and the open court.

"He has got that breakaway speed that's jaw-dropping. And he's 6-foot-10 (2.03m).

"That stat line, we were kind of seeing snapshots of that the first three games."

Meanwhile, two-time Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry scored a game-high 29 points while Kevin Durant added 25 points and Klay Thompson had 21 as the defending champion Golden State Warriors improved to 2-2 with a 133-103 rout at winless Dallas (0-4).

Curry was also fined US$50,000 (S$68,000) by the league for throwing his mouthpiece in the direction of a referee during last Saturday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

He had tossed his mouthpiece in response to a no-call on drive with 43.6sec left in a 111-101 loss for the Warriors.

Curry and teammate Kevin Durant were both ejected from the game after arguing with officials about the incident.

Durant was not fined.

Curry later said he regretted his heat-of-the-moment reaction. - WIRE SERVICES

OTHER RESULTS

  • Dallas 103 Golden State 133
  • Miami 104 Atlanta 93
  • Houston 90 Memphis 98
  • Milwaukee 103 Charlotte 94
  • San Antonio 101 Toronto 97
  • Phoenix 117 Sacramento 115
NBA