Simmons digs in on defence as Sixers pip Pacers
On a night when defence was at a premium, Ben Simmons made three steals in the final minute to take his Philadelphia 76ers to a narrow home victory over the Indiana Pacers.
With the Sixers trailing by a point and less than a minute remaining, Simmons read a kick-out pass from Indiana's TJ Warren and intercepted the ball before bolting up court and passing to Tobias Harris for the go-ahead dunk.
Ben Simmons came through on defence as the Sixers edged Indiana in Philadelphia.Credit:Getty Images
With Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb trying to in-bound the ball over centre Joel Embiid with 10 seconds to play, Simmons managed to get his hands into the lane and steal the ball before again finding Harris, who nailed two free throws to extend Philadelphia's lead to three points with 5.1 seconds left.
The Sixers played the percentages and had Simmons foul Malcolm Brogdon before the Pacers could attempt a game-tying three-pointer, and Brogdon converted his free throws. On the next play, Embiid was fouled and made his free throws to lock in the 119-116 win.
Simmons then stole a last-second desperation pass from the Pacers as time expired, and the Sixers improved their undefeated start to the season at home to 9-0.
Simmons finished with 15 points, six rebounds, 13 assists and four steals, while Embiid led the team with 32 points and 11 rebounds.
Simmons told broadcaster NBC Philadelphia he wanted to please the home crowd and remain undefeated at home.
"I love playing defence, I feel a sense of pride and for me, especially being part of the Sixers and playing in Philadelphia, guys want to see you play hard," Simmons said.
"We don't want to lose here. We are scared to lose in front of them."
The Sixers faced off with long-time teammate TJ McConnell, who took up a free agent deal with the Pacers this past off-season, and Simmons had a hug and a joke with McConnell post game.
"TJ gave effort every night, I had to give it back tonight," Simmons said.
"It's weird [seeing him in Pacers colours]. So many people here love him. He's been here since I first was here. I have a lot of love for him."
The Sixers host Joe Ingles, Dante Exum and the Utah Jazz in Philadelphia on Tuesday at 11am AEDT.
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