Ben Simmons is keeping a positive attitude — at least publicly — despite the knowledge the Sixers were willing to deal him to acquire James Harden, according to Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Simmons had a triple-double against Miami on Thursday. “I am blessed. I get to play the game I love every day at the highest level in the world, so there’s far worse things going on in the world,” he said. “So I’m in a blessed position. If you tell me I’ll never play the game again, that would be a different story.”
We have more from the Atlantic Division:
- Sixers center Joel Embiid will miss the next two games due to right knee discomfort, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Embiid won’t join the team during its road trip to Memphis and Oklahoma City. Embiid only played 24 minutes and was held to nine points and five rebounds against Miami on Thursday.
- Stanley Johnson and Yuta Watanabe provided a defensive spark for the Raptors on Thursday and could be in line for bigger roles, according to TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. Johnson, who becomes a free agent after the season, played 21 minutes and Watanabe, who earned a two-way contract in training camp, played 15 against Charlotte. “They did a great job of just playing hard,” coach Nick Nurse said. “They were keeping balls alive, they were jarring balls loose on the defensive end, they were limiting them to one shot.”
- The Knicks shouldn’t deviate from their rebuilding plan despite the splashy moves made by the cross-town Nets, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post opines. The Knicks are playing harder under new coach Tom Thibodeau and they will get healthier and continue to improve as long as they exercise patience.