'Clean it up': Ben Simmons buzzer-beater hands 76ers crucial win

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Ben Simmons tipped in a Joel Embiid miss to hand the Philadelphia 76ers a crucial victory over the San Antonio Spurs in overtime. Pictures: Sportscentre/Getty Images
Ben Simmons tipped in a Joel Embiid miss to hand the Philadelphia 76ers a crucial victory over the San Antonio Spurs in overtime. Pictures: Sportscentre/Getty Images

Ben Simmons hit the first game-winner of his NBA career to lift the Philadelphia 76ers to a thrilling overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.

The All-Star Australian was able to tip in a missed shot from teammate Joel Embiid with less than a second remaining against the Spurs, cementing a hard-fought 113-111 victory.

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It was an outstanding hustle play from Simmons but an unforgivable defensive lapse from the Spurs, who didn't box out the 211cm giant and allowed him a clean jump at the ball.

Speaking after the game, Simmons said the team trusted Embiid with those big shots.

"I knew Joel was going to get a good look," Simmons said.

"We trust him with those shots. I was just there to clean it up."

Scoring was at a premium in the five additional minutes with Embiid's four points all coming from free throws before Simmons' heroics iced a fourth-straight win for Eastern Conference leaders.

While he struggled offensively, Simmons drew a pair of charges in overtime that proved decisive.

"I thought those two charges were the biggest plays of the game," 76ers coach Doc Rivers said.

Simmons finished with just five points on 2-of-6 shooting - one point less than compatriot Patty Mills contributed for the Spurs, who are clinging to 10th in the West and a play-in berth.

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Sunday's game in San Antonio was the start of five games in seven days for Philadelphia.

Even though the Spurs were missing four starters, Rivers chose not to rest anyone.

"We obviously have a plan on what we want to do, and so we'll follow it," he said.

"We're not going to look at the standings or anything like that to decide what we're going to do; I can say that."

Big results shake up NBA's Eastern Conference race

In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 49 points in the Bucks' 117-114 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

The two-time reigning NBA MVP Antetokounmpo went 21 for 36 from the field, including 4-for-8 from three-point range, to finish three points shy of his career high.

The Bucks (40-24) won for the third time in four games to close in on their fellow Eastern Conference contenders, who are second.

A massive game from Giannis Antetokounmpo steered the Milwaukee Bucks to a crucial win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).
A massive game from Giannis Antetokounmpo steered the Milwaukee Bucks to a crucial win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).

Kevin Durant drove the Nets with 42 points, although he missed a difficult fadeaway three-pointer at the buzzer for the win.

The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers lost their fourth game in five, going down 121-114 to the Toronto Raptors while the Portland Trail Blazers won their fourth on the bounce by beating the Boston Celtics 129-119.

Elsewhere, the Phoenix Suns were 123-120 victors at the Oklahoma City Thunder, the New York Knicks triumphed 122-97 over the Houston Rockets, the Sacramento Kings saw off the Dallas Mavericks 111-99, and the Miami Heat secured a 121-111 road win in Charlotte against the Hornets.

With AAP

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