Simmons' triple-double lifts 76ers over Pistons 97-86
By NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Four games into his NBA career, Ben Simmons already has a triple-double to his credit.
And with some help from Joel Embiid, he finally led the Philadelphia 76ers to a victory.
Simmons had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, and Embiid scored 30 points to lift the 76ers to a 97-86 win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.
Detroit, which rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat the New York Knicks on Saturday night , fell behind by 21 again in the second quarter against the 76ers. The Pistons chipped away and were within three in the fourth, but Philadelphia held on.
“It’s awesome to have a triple-double, but at the same time, it’s even better to have a win,” Simmons said.
Simmons was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft before missing all of last season with a foot injury. He finished two assists shy of a triple-double at Toronto on Saturday night, and his skill and versatility were evident in Detroit.
Philadelphia never trailed. It was 56-43 at halftime and 75-67 after three quarters before the Pistons cut the deficit to three on a 3-pointer by Anthony Tolliver. The teams traded baskets for a bit before a three-point play by Robert Covington and 3-pointer by T.J. McConnell put the 76ers up by nine.
Detroit trailed by four after a 6-0 run late in the fourth, but an awkward-looking hook shot by Andre Drummond missed everything, and the 76ers were able to close out the game.
“It’s mind boggling to have two games in a row where we weren’t ready to play. We have to figure out a way to fix that, whether those five guys can boost the intensity or if we have to change the lineup,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I’m going to take the blame for Simmons. I’m not saying the players couldn’t have done things better, but we didn’t have a good game plan for him.”
Drummond had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons.
76ers: Simmons had double-doubles in his first three games, but Philadelphia lost them all.
Pistons: Drummond moved into sixth place on Detroit’s career rebounding list, passing Walter Dukes. Drummond is now four shy of 5,000. … All Detroit starters scored in double figures except Stanley Johnson, who went without a point. Reggie Jackson had 16 points and seven assists.
This was the second Pistons game at Little Caesars Arena, the new downtown venue they share with the Detroit Red Wings. The people mopping the floor were pretty busy trying to keep it dry in the second half, and 76ers coach Brett Brown said he was glad nobody was hurt.
“You can appreciate our reaction when you see Joel Embiid slip and slide and then hold his knee,” Brown said. “And then 30 seconds later, Jerryd Bayless goes down and starts holding his hip. We’ve experienced a lot of injuries. It’s not anybody’s fault. It just happened. There was a wet part of the floor and we were lucky to get away without any injuries.”
Embiid (left knee) sat out the game at Toronto. He shot 11 of 15 from the field against Detroit, although he did turn the ball over seven times.
The Pistons and Henry Ford Health System broke ground on a new complex a couple miles north of Little Caesars Arena that will house a training facility and corporate headquarters for the franchise. It’s scheduled to open in 2019.
76ers: Philadelphia hosts Houston on Wednesday night.
Pistons: Detroit hosts Minnesota on Wednesday night before heading on a three-game western trip.
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