Simmons solid as 76ers continue NBA streak

Ben Simmons scored 16 points as his Philadelphia 76ers won their 12th-straight match to consolidate fourth place in the NBA Eastern Conference.

Ben Simmons continued to lead the Philadelphia 76ers in the absence of two key big men.

Ben Simmons continued to lead the Philadelphia 76ers in the absence of two key big men.

With the playoffs around the corner, the Sixers won 115-108 at the Detroit Pistons to draw level with LeBron James's Cleveland Cavaliers on 48 wins with four regular-season games remaining.

Fresh from becoming just the second NBA player in their rookie season to register 1200 points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists, after Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, Australian sensation Simmons also chipped in six assists and seven rebounds in 32 minutes.

Fellow guard JJ Reddick top scored with 25 points and Marco Belinelli had 19 in the absence of injured big men Joel Embiid and Dario Saric.

"Everyone in this room has stepped up since Joel went down, and we know we're capable of winning games without him," Simmons said.

"We told him to get ready for the playoffs and that we'll take care of everything else. Now we're showing that we can do that."

The loss ended the Pistons' five-game winning streak.

Philadelphia have a two-win buffer from the fifth-placed Indiana Pacers, their likely first-round play-off opponents, with a top-four berth affording them home-court advantage in the seven-game series.

The Sixers face Cleveland, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks to finish the regular season.

Toronto confirmed their status as the East's team to beat by increasing their lead over second-placed Boston to three games with a 96-78 victory over the Kyrie Irving-less Celtics.

DeMar DeRozan scored 16 points, Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka each had 15 as the Raptors moved closer to clinching the top seed in the conference.

With their 56th win of the season, Toronto matched the franchise record set in 2015-16.

Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 115-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

The win lifted the Heat to sixth in the east while the Hawks have the worst record in the conference.

In Los Angeles, Kyle Kuzma bombed a three-pointer in the first minute of overtime, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added a clincher three minutes later, helping the Lakers to outlast the visiting San Antonio 122-112.

The loss is costly to the Spurs (45-34), who fall into a tie with Oklahoma City (45-34) for the fifth spot in a tightly bunched Western group.

Elsewhere, the Orlando Magic beat fellow strugglers Dallas 105-100.

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