A career-high 15 assists as part of a triple-double from Ben Simmons wasn’t enough for the Philadelphia 76ers as they slumped to an embarrassing 123-121 home loss to the lowly Atlanta Hawks.
With Joel Embiid rested for the match it was up to Simmons, Jimmy Butler and returning guard JJ Redick to get the 76ers home but they ultimately came up short as the Hawks, led by rookie guard Kevin Huerter took a last minute win.
Huerter dropped a career-high 29 points and five of eight three-pointers to help sink the 76ers, rendering some delightful play from Simmons obsolete.
Step on through, @BenSimmons25!— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers)
The Australian did all he could with 23 points and 10 rebounds to go with his 15 assists, three of which came in the last four minutes of the game, including one delightful dish to find Butler above the rim for an alley-oop.
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA)
Still his vision wasn’t enough and with nine seconds left on the clock Atlanta forward John Collins made a tough two-point jumper to give the Hawks the lead.
Jimmy Butler 30pts
Ben Simmons 10rebs, 15asts
Kevin Huerter 29pts.— NBA das Mina (@podnbadasmina)
Off the timeout the 76ers drew up a play for Butler (30 points) who was fouled at the rim.
Until then Butler had been perfect from the line with 12-12 free throws but missed the pair and Wilson Chandler missed a tip-in chance as the 76ers fell to a second straight loss, after being flogged by the Washington Wizards just two days ago.
Speaking after the match, Simmons said his team was “too soft”.
“I just don’t think we’re physical enough,” he said. “Defensively it should be a pride thing.
“It has to be a pride thing. We should take it personally if someone scores on us.”
Jimmy Butler purposely misses the second FT and Philly gets two point blank layups, Atlanta wins in Philly pic.twitter.com/tHAkwN116k— The Render (@TheRenderNBA)
For Atlanta, Huerter was helped by 25 points from Collins and 19 from centre Dewayne Dedmon.
HARDEN JOINS KOBE IN ELITE GROUP
While Ben Simmons’ triple-double was good James Harden’s was better.
The beard was at his dominant best as he took the Cleveland Cavailers to the woodshed with a jaw-dropping performance in their 141-113 romp.
Harden’s 43 points came alongside 10 rebounds and 12 assists as the Rockets bounced back from their last start loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
It’s Harden’s 15th straight game with at least 30 points, his franchise-record 13th game with 40 points this season and the seventh in the last nine games as he has carried the team with Chris Paul and Eric Gordon out with injuries. Ante Zizic came off the bench to score 18 for the Cavaliers, whose season-long skid extended to 12 games.
The Beard notches a 40-point triple-double in less than 30 minutes played!— Nitrogen Sports (@NitrogenSports)
Harden needed less than 2 1/2 quarters to reach 30 points on Friday night, hitting a 3 with 7:41 left in the third to give him 32 points and push Houston’s lead 91-58. He joins Kobe Bryant (16 games in 2003) as the only players to score 30 points in at least 15 games in a row since the 1972-73 season.
“Tonight was very important. We got off to a great start and tried to execute from the beginning of the game, last game we let one slip away, so we had to protect homecourt and that’s what we did,” Harden said.
“That’s (records) not important to me, what’s important to me and the entire team is getting better.”