World reacts to Simmons’ historic outing
Ben Simmons has been at the forefront of conversations in recent weeks with his name floated in trade rumours.
On Tuesday he emphatically put a line through any rumours as he erupted to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to the 117-111 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
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The Sixers haven't enjoyed the start to the season many expected them to have and when All-Star big man Joel Embiid went down with injury, concerns were raised.
People pointed the finger at Simmons and believed it was now or never for him to prove he has what it takes to lead the Sixers.
Simmons heard the chatter and has responded in stunning fashion, helping the Sixers go 5-2 in the seven games without his fellow All-Star in the line-up.
But it was on Tuesday where he sent social media into meltdown with his otherworldly play on both ends of the court as he ripped the heart out of the Nets.
Simmons ended the contest with an equal career-high 34 points, shooting 12-14 from the field, pulled down 12 rebounds, dished out 12 assists and recorded five steals.
The insane outing from Simmons saw him etch his name into the NBA history books as the first player to ever achieve a 30-point triple-double with five steals while shooting 80 per cent from the floor.
"Ben Simmons was ridiculously dominant tonight," Brett Brown said after the six-point victory.
Brown's comments echoed the thoughts of social media who couldn't believe the aggressive display they were seeing from Simmons.
Ben Simmons today.... just damn. Special.— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) January 20, 2020
NBC's Paul Hudrick said the box score, albeit impressive, didn't even come close to showing off how dominant Simmons was.
"The scary thing: He was even better than the box score indicates," Hudrick wrote.
"For as good as Simmons was in the first half, he was especially spectacular after halftime. That's especially notable for all the recent scrutiny he's faced."
The plaudits for his historic-outing rolled in from all corners as well, with ESPN, Yahoo and The Athletic giving it up for the Aussie.
Sixers reporter for Philly Voice, Kyle Neubeck, has been critical of Simmons' lack of aggressiveness in the past, but gave him props for taking the bull by the horns on Tuesday.
"I crush him all of the time for not taking advantage of his build and physical tools to get to the line," Neubeck wrote. "He was much better in that regard."
The Sixers leaned into Ben Simmons' gifts against Brooklyn, and they got what is probably the best performance of his career as a result. It should be a lesson for the franchise moving forward: https://t.co/yrhzXalNl2— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) January 20, 2020
Simmons has elevated his level of play since taking the mantle as the team leader, bumping his scoring averages from 14.9 points per game, up to 21.2 points per game.
His assists numbers have taken a slight dip, but his league-leading steal numbers remain at 2.1 per game while his rebounding numbers are up from 7.5 per game to 9.1 per game.
His historic Tuesday outing sees him join legends James Harden, Chris Paul and LeBron James as the only players in the last 20 years to record a triple-double with 30 points and five steals.
Ben Simmons just played one of the more complete games I’ve seen any player play this season. 34/12/12 with five steals and two blocks, including the game-sealing block on a Dinwiddie 3, is about as absurd as it gets.— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) January 20, 2020
The Sixers will finish their three-game road-trip when they venture into Toronto for a showdown against the defending NBA champion Raptors.
In two games against the Raptors so far this season, Simmons hasn't been able to impact the scoreboard like he has shown he can, averaging only 13 points per game across the two.
Despite the scoring dip, he has lifted his play with better numbers in rebounding and assists.
But without Embiid in the line-up for the third contest, all eyes will be on Simmons and if he can continue his All-Star level of play.
The game will be played live on ESPN on Thursday, January 23 at 11am (AEDT) and can be viewed on Kayo.
Ben Simmons wins Eastern Conference Player of the Week and decided that level of basketball wasn't enough. He torched the Nets today, as did Thybulle. #Sixers— Alexander Grant (@AlexGrantOz) January 20, 2020
Best game of Ben Simmons’ career.— Dave Loughran (@Loughy_D) January 20, 2020
Ben.— drew olanoff (@yoda) January 20, 2020
This should be the Ben Simmons we see every game. Get to the foul line a ton. Attack constantly. be fearless at the rim. No accident that this might be his best game of the season when that happens.— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) January 20, 2020
Ben Simmons went CRAZY.— Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels) January 20, 2020