Simmons shows he means business on NBA debut for 76ers :-: abc net

Australia's big hoops hope Ben Simmons has notched a double-double on his NBA debut for Philadelphia in a stunning start to life in basketball's big time.

Simmons shone in a losing effort for the promising 76ers, ultimately undone late in the game as the Washington Wizards ran out 120-115 winners.

The Australian notched 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists as he came good after a difficult period to trigger a late 76ers surge.

Simmons was handed a starting spot at point guard by Philadelphia coach Brett Brown, pitting him against Washington's elite tandem of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

The 76ers' record over the last four years has been woeful, with a 75-253 record, but the signs they can turn it around remain promising, having amassed a sparkling rookie ensemble of Simmons, centre Joel Embiid and 2017's top draft pick in Markelle Fultz.

Washington led the first quarter 32-23, before Simmons' 76ers turned it around to lead 60-56, getting 10 points, an assist and five rebounds.

His first basket in the NBA came thanks to a one-two pass outside the paint, before darting towards the bucket for a lay-up finish.

External Link: Ben Simmons' first basket in the NBA

Simmons lit up the second period with a fantastic steal in the paint, breaking up court like lightning before slamming the ball home, in front of his cheering parents.

External Link: Jeff Skversky tweets WATCH: Ben Simmons Steal & Slam! Mom & Dad have GREAT View! @BenSimmons25 with 8 points so far in #NBA Debut

The Wizards overpowered the visitors in the third period 34-23, to lead 90-82 heading into the final quarter.

Simmons looked to hit the Wizards hard early doors in the fourth period, breaking up court twice at rapid speed as Philadelphia opened with two quick three pointers to draw the margin back to two.

But the fabled Beal-Wall combo ultimately paid dividends for the Wizards as they streaked away late in the piece to put themselves in front.

Simmons' deficiencies in free-throws was highlighted as he missed two frees while trying to bring the deficit back to five points, but was given a shot at the same trick moments later, netting both.

A defensive rebound set up Robert Covington for a break and three point shot, as the embers of a Philly comeback flared late on, but ultimately the Wizards held off.

Despite the loss, Simmons' performance still garnered praise from pundits.

"This is a huge point guard in Ben Simmons, and this is where I think he's going to be really good. We know he can pass the basketball. He's incredibly quick for his size and gives back, lays it up for Markelle Fultz," said NBA TV's Steve Smith.

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Original Article

ABC .net

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