The Philadelphia 76ers have maintained a 5-1 start with a 127-112 win over the Charlotte Hornets with Ben Simmons claiming his first triple-double of the season.
Simmons has put up 29 triple-doubles in his regular season career and is racing up the leaderboard in record time, taking just 223 games to reach the mark.
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While Dallas Mavericks wunderkind Luka Doncic is looking to eclipse Simmons’ record with 25 in his 138 game career so far, it’s a stunning record for the Australian.
Only Magic Johnson, who took 186 games and brought his 29th up in 1982, and Oscar Robertson, who did it in 74 games by 1961, have more triple-doubles in less time than Simmons.
Only Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Nikola Jokic have more triple-doubles than Simmons since the Aussie started his career, but since Magic, Simmons 223 games beats Jokic’s 310 games, Grant Hill’s 336 games, Jason Kidd’s 372 and LeBron James with 556 games.
Westbrook took 570 games to get 29 triple doubles but exploded after that and has now tallied 150 in his career.
Simmons said the 76ers are developing into a handful for any team.
“You see the way we’ve been playing, we like to move the ball, share it, it doesn’t matter who gets the ball in the game in terms of the points, but when we play like that it’s tough,” he said.
He added that the addition of shooters at the perimeter has helped the side with all the players buying in.
Simmons had 15 points 12 rebounds and 11 assists while Joel Embiid added 19 points and 14 boards, while Tobias Harris’ 24 points and Seth Curry’s 21 were the pick of the 76ers.
Simmons is getting the relationship going with his new teammates as well with Curry dishing a no look alley-oop to Simmons for a dunk.
Before the game, Simmons gave the credit all to new coach Doc Rivers who has freed him up to play as he likes.
Rivers has been dismissive of any of the talk around Simmons’ jump shot this season and despite hitting a three in his last game, has said it doesn’t matter.
“I think that’s the good thing with Doc, he allows me to make the right reads,” Simmons said.
“He’s gonna tell me if there’s a certain spot he thinks I should get to. If I don’t do something whether it’s cut or slash, or just spacing-wise. I think I have that freedom.”
WALL DOES IT WITHOUT HARDEN
John Wall delivered a game-high 28 points as the Houston Rockets won their second straight game over the Sacramento Kings 102-94, despite playing without NBA all-star James Harden.
Eric Gordon replaced Harden and scored 21 points, while Christian Wood finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Rockets, who also beat the Kings 122-119 on New Year’s Eve.
‘‘I just put in a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this point,” Wall said. ‘‘I couldn’t ask for a better start to be 2-0 in my first two games.”
It will give Rockets fans some joy knowing the side could be OK without Harden as the trade talk continues.
Harden had 33 points in the New Year’s Eve game but was a late scratch Saturday. The disgruntled American, who has asked for a trade, sat out with a sore ankle, although he has not been placed on the injury list.
Without Harden, Wall carried the offensive load for the Rockets. He had missed their first two games of the new season because of COVID-19 restrictions and was out all of last season because of injuries.
Sterling Brown came off the bench to score 11 points in the win. Rockets coach Stephen Silas said he is pleasantly surprised with the immediate impact from Wall.
“Whatever expectations I had, he’s obviously exceeded them,” he said.
The Rockets seized their first double-digit lead of the game, 92-81, early in the fourth quarter when David Nwaba and Gordon drained back to back threes.
The Kings got to 92-83 with just over eight minutes left, but then cold shooting and turnovers resulted in them going scoreless for five minutes.
De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 23 points, while Buddy Hield chipped in 17 points in the loss.
DANTE EXUM COMES UP BIG
The Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young is one of the NBA’s most exciting talents but Aussie star Dante Exum has shown how to shut the young gun down.
His Cleveland Cavaliers are fourth in the Eastern Conference having a 4-2 record but claimed a massive scalp against the Hawks.
While Exum had just six points and five rebounds in 35 minutes on the floor, the 96-91 win was set up as he shut down Young.
Young averages 28.2 points for the season as well as 8.3 assists but he was kept to 16 points and 10 assists.
Cleveland even had to battle back from 15 points down halfway through the third quarter, before outscoring the Hawks 26-17 to come over the top of the Hawks.
Cavs star Larry Nance Jr. was blown away by the team’s defence.
“They put up 35 on us in the first quarter and then for the rest of the three quarters of the game, for 36 minutes of basketball, we held them to 53 points,” he said. “That’s unheard of. That’s unheard of. Like we keep saying, that’s what we gotta hang our hats on every night. If you play defence, there’s no game you’re out of.”
But social media was behind Exum’s performance.