Ben Simmons put fellow Aussie Joe Ingles in the shade as 76ers see off the Jazz

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BEN Simmons and Joe Ingles embraced each other with a brotherly hug and handshake before the game.

The all-Australian showdown in Philadelphia looked set to be a love-in.

But as Simmons’ new-look 76ers welcomed the Utah Jazz into their Philly fortress, the sledging began.

The verbal friendly fire appeared to work wonders as small forward Ingles marked his

younger compatriot for most of the first half, keeping an uncharacteristically rusty Simmons

to just five points.

But the 21-year-old rookie emerged from halftime to produce his best performance in an

already brilliant 16-game NBA career, lifting the Sixers to a 107—86 victory at the Wells

Fargo Center in south Philly.

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Simmons (25) took control of the game. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Camera IconSimmons (25) took control of the game. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Picture: AP

Chosen by the Sixers as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Simmons took the game by

the scruff of the neck with a career-high 27 points — 22 coming in a dominant second half, in addition to 10 rebounds, two assists, and four steals.

Simmons’ 11 double-doubles are the most by any NBA player in their first 16 games since

Shaquille O’Neal in 1993.

“I guess the hype behind (him) is now out on the floor,” a deflated Ingles told The Daily

Telegraph after the 21-point loss.

“He’s leading his team and he’s doing a good job of it. For a young guy the age he is to lead

that team is seriously impressive.”

Even Shaq was impressed by Simmons’ performance. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Camera IconEven Shaq was impressed by Simmons’ performance. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Picture: AP

Combined with JJ Redick’s 20-point haul, Joel Embiid’s 15 points and 11 rebounds, as well as

13 points from Robert Covington, a revved-up full-house crowd appeared ready to tear the

roof off.

Was the 30-year-old Adelaide native Ingles impressed by Simmons’ swashbuckling

performance?

“Not when you’re on the end of it, trying to win the game yourself,” Ingles said.

“Maybe, when I retire I’ll look back and say that.

“It’s hard to digest after a loss, but I am happy for him that he’s playing well — not just

against us, but every team so far.”

Summing up the game beautifully was a line drive 208cm-tall Simmons directed at Ingles en

route to scoring early in the third quarter, kickstarting a series of fearless charges at the

basket.

With Ingles — the highest-paid Australian in the league on a $US52 million, four-year deal — managing eight points, one rebound and one assist, Simmons showed whose house it was.

Ingles couldn’t top his compatriot. Photo: Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images/AFP
Camera IconIngles couldn’t top his compatriot. Photo: Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images/AFPPicture: AFP

“It’s a lot of fun, but he’s not winning over me,” Simmons joked. “Every time I play Joe, I’m winning.”

Simmons said the exchanges were all in good fun, noting how much respect he has for

Ingles’ hard-earned journey to the US.

Ingles cut his teeth at home in the NBL before carving out a path through Europe, playing in

Spain and Israel — where he won a Euroleague championship with Maccabi Tel Aviv before

settling into a key role with Utah.

“I came into the league a lot younger, obviously. We’ve definitely had different paths, but

there’s more than one way to the NBA.

“He’s had a great career so far and he’s a great person, I love playing against him.”



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