Simmons sparks scuffle with big shoulder charge

Aussie NBA superstar Ben Simmons has been involved in the first heated scuffle of his professional career, after laying out an opponent with a shoulder charge.

Late in the Philadelphia 76ers loss to the Boston Celtics in London, Simmons was trying to close out on an opposing shooter when Celtics big man Marcus Morris screened him.

Morris had beaten Simmons to the mark, checking his run and frustrating the young Aussie who had also struggled with turnovers late in the game.

Simmons then laid out a big shoulder charge, using his huge frame to send Morris crashing down to the floor.

Morris reacted angrily, pushing Simmons before teammates pulled the pair apart.

Morris was given a technical foul for his response while the Aussie All Star chance picked up a common foul.

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Simmons lays out Morris, before the Celtics star reacts. Pic: ESPN

Watch the heated moment in the video at the top of the page.

The NBA rookie of the year fancy, Simmons did his All-Star hopes no harm, but it was a night to forget for Philadelphia in the NBA's annual London game at a sold-out O2 Arena.

The 76ers led by 22 points midway through the second quarter before falling away to lose 114-103 to Eastern Conference leaders Boston Celtics in front of 19,078 fans.

Simmons remains on track to become the first rookie All-Star since Blake Griffin in 2011.

On Thursday he moved to third in voting for the point guard position, behind runaway leader Kyrie Irving of the Celtics and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan.

The 21-year-old former LSU star was also endorsed by Cleveland superstar LeBron James, who took to Twitter in praise of Simmons.

"#NBAVote my lil bro @BenSimmons25! He definitely got next," James wrote.

The loss ended a four-match winning streak for Philadelphia and may dent their play-off hopes as they attempt to stay in touch with fellow hopefuls Detroit and Indiana.

Simmons' 16-point haul was behind only JJ Redick's team and game-high 22 for the 76ers.

Boston, led by 20 points from Melbourne-born Irving and Jaelen Brown's 21, moved six wins clear at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

A tight opening quarter saw Redick draw first blood and the 76ers take a five-point lead into the first break. They extended their lead to 49-27 midway through the second term when Simmons turned to hit his first basket of the quarter.

Irving and Brown shone for the Celtics in the lead-up to the long break as Boston went into the sheds nine points down.

Brad Stevens' side made it a one-point game midway through the third before finally taking the lead for the first time through Daniel Theis, one they would not relinquish en route to a 11-point win.

With AAP