‘Don’t care what he says’: Rookie’s swipe for Simmons
CHALK one up for the new guy.
Aussie Isaac Humphries, in just his second NBA game, has won bragging rights over compatriots Ben Simmons and Jonah Bolden, his lowly Atlanta Hawks claiming a 130-122 win over the playoff-bound Philadelphia 76ers.
To be fair, Humphries, after scoring four points in his debut on Wednesday *AEST), only had five minutes of game time - missing both his shots - as Trae Young continued to stake his late claim for Rookie of the Year honours with 33 points and 12 assists.
Simmons still put up a gaudy statline - 15 points, 15 rebounds 8 assists and four steals - but he shot just 6 of 17 from the field and battled foul trouble from the start of the second quarter. He also copped one in the face, losing a tooth.
Bolden continued to start in the absence of star Joel Embiid, producing his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but struggled defensively as Young and big teammate John Collins shredded him in the pick and roll.
The two Sixers showed no mercy for their Aussie compatriot, in the second quarter Simmons first rejected Humphries at one end of the floor and then Bolden scored over him at the other.
John Collins provided the foil for Young, pouring in 25 points as seven Hawks reached double digits. Sharpshooter JJ Redick caught fire for the Sixers with six treys on his way to 30 points.
Simmons, who fought a public war with Utah's Donovan Mitchell before ultimately winning last year's Rookie of the Year award, has annointed Dallas youngster Luka Doncic as his successor.
"Same reason as last year. He's playing better. His team is winning more games," Simmons said this week.
"Trae Young is killing it; same as Donovan (Mitchell). But overall I just think that Luka has his team playing a little better and he's just doing a little bit more."
But Young said after the win Simmons might want to have a rethink.
"I don't really pay too much attention to it," Young said.
"Maybe he thinks differently now, for me I just try to go out have fun, compete and I don't care what he says."
Remarkably, Atlanta won the season series against Philly, three games to one, despite struggling to a 29-50 record.
The 49-29 Sixers had the worst possible preparation forFriday's clash with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the league-pacing Milwaukee Bucks, while Humphries will get another chance to impress when the Hawks take on the Orlando Magic.
BAYNES FIRES FOR CELTICS
Aussie tower Aron Baynes had a big game for Boston, making all three of his shots in a 10-point, 10-rebound double double that helped the Celtics to a second straight win over the Miami Heat, 112-102, the team's fourth in the last five.
Gordon Hayward had 25 points, 8 rebounds and five assists off the bench and Al Horford had 21 points as the 47-32 Celtics (fourth) held Indiana (fifth) at bay in the East. Dion Waiters led the Heat with 21.
THON STRUGGLES IN PISTONS' DIRTY DAY
Fellow Aussie centre Thon Maker started and played 33 minutes in star Blake Griffin's absence, but it wasn't pretty as Detroit went down to the Pacers 108-89. Maker missed all four of his shots, his two points coming from the free throw line, adding four rebounds with an assist, a steal and a block. Andre Drummond had a monster in a losing effort, with 28 points, 19 rebounds three assists, three steals and three blocks, while Thaddeus Young led a balanced Indiana with 21.