The Sixers became the latest victim of a scorching-hot Jazz team on Monday night, but the play of Ben Simmons, who lined up at center in place of late scratch Joel Embiid, was extremely encouraging, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN details. Simmons scored a career-high 42 points to go along with 12 assists and nine rebounds, and acknowledged after the game that he was playing as aggressively on offense as he has since entering the league.
“There’s nights where I feel like I am dominant, but it may not look like a 40-point game,” Simmons said. “I might have a triple-double and we might win by 20, whatever the case is. It might be on defense. (But) yeah, I definitely had to pick up the slack with Joel out.”
The Sixers will need that version of Simmons to show up more often – especially when Embiid is active – if they want to be a legit championship contender this season, Bontemps notes.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- The Sixers are said to be in the market for a point guard, but David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer believes the team would be better off targeting a three-and-D wing who can play solid defense against opposing guards.
- While he acknowledges that including Norman Powell in a trade for a center may be a necessary move, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star contends that Andre Drummond is not the answer for the Raptors. Toronto was said on Monday to be engaged in trade discussions with the Cavaliers about the veteran center.
- Although Kevin Durant wasn’t active for it, the Nets‘ win over Sacramento on Monday – in which James Harden and Kyrie Irving combined for 69 points, 17 assists, and 15 three-pointers – was “the vision” for how the team should be performing, according to Harden. Malika Andrews of ESPN has the story and the quotes.
- After learning in practice from the Nets‘ veteran stars earlier in the season, rookie Reggie Perry is now looking to make the most of his experience in the G League bubble with Long Island, writes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Perry, who has averaged 19.0 PPG and 10.0 RPG through four NBAGL games, will return to Brooklyn once the G League season ends next month.