Simmons' 76ers hit by COVID case mid-match

·3-min read

Australian star Ben Simmons and his NBA-leading Philadelphia 76ers face uncertainty after reportedly learning during an upset loss to the Brooklyn Nets that guard Seth Curry had tested positive for COVID-19.

Curry was not expected to play due to an ankle injury but sat on the bench for the first quarter of Thursday night's match before the 76ers got his test result, forcing him to leave and go into isolation, according to ESPN.

The 76ers went into the away match with a 7-1 record and a five-game winning streak but it wasn't even close as they lost 122-109 to the improving Nets (5-4), who prevailed even without their superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Curry, who was wearing a mask, was seen talking with 76ers star Joel Embiid on the bench during the first quarter.

His positive test prompted the 76ers to remain in New York overnight and they were to conduct contact tracing on Friday while the players undergo another round of testing, per NBA health and safety protocols.

Embiid told ESPN after the game that he will self-quarantine away from his family until he is sure he didn't contract the virus.

Curry is the son-of-law of Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers and the younger brother of Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.

The Nets went on to win the match without the high-scoring Durant, who missed a second match due to COVID-19 safety protocols, and point guard Irving, who was ruled out for unspecified "personal reasons".

Reserve Joe Harris stepped up with a season-high 28 points for the Nets, while Caris LeVert had 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, and Jarrett Allen added 15 points and 11 boards.

In contrast, Sixers' aces Simmons and Embiid, had relatively quiet games. Embiid posted 20 points, with 12 rebounds and three assists while Simmons managed just 11 points with four rebounds and two assists.

New Nets coach Steve Nash only learned of Irving's absence shortly before the game.

"I haven't spoke to him yet," Nash said afterwards. "I can't really comment because I haven't spoke to him and it's personal reasons. It has to come from Kyrie."

A trip to Los Angeles proved to be just what Australian veteran Patty Mills' San Antonio Spurs needed to break out of an early-season slump.

Two nights after beating the Clippers to snap a four-game losing streak, the Spurs picked up another win at Staples Centre, this time defeating the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 118-109.

LaMarcus Aldridge led San Antonio with a season-high 28 points and was one of five in double figures, including Mills (10), while LeBron James scored 27 points and Anthony Davis added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers.

In Denver, Luka Doncic had 38 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds as his visiting Dallas Mavericks defeated the Denver Nuggets in overtime, 124-117.

In Portland, Damian Lillard scored 39 points, including seven 3-pointers, as his Portland Trail Blazers handed the Minnesota Timberwolves their sixth straight loss with a 135-117 victory.

In Memphis, Andre Drummond had a game-high 22 points and 15 rebounds as the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Grizzlies 94-90.