BATTLED HARD: Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons (center) takes the ball to the ring against the Phoenix Suns. Picture: AP Photo Matt Slocum
Ben Simmons has battled flu-like symptoms to score 20 points but he couldn’t prevent Philadelphia suffering an upset home NBA loss to Phoenix.
The Newcastle-raised guard had eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals in the 115-101 result, but was upstaged by star Suns guard Devin Booker, who registered a season-high 46 points.
The 76ers trailed for most of Tuesday’ game but narrowed the margin to five points with just under five minutes remaining, before Booker fired three of his five three-pointers to snuff out their challenge.
Guard JJ Redick top-scored with 25 points for the 76ers, while centre Joel Embiid had 22 points and 12 rebounds.
20 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds for @BenSimmons25 vs Phoenix. pic.twitter南京夜网/vSMfvX107U
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 5, 2017
A game-high for steals sees Simmons claim outright second in the league’s tally for the statistic with 51, four behind Paul George of Oklahoma City.
The loss to the Western Conference’s 11th place side sees Philadelphia slip to 13-10 to sit fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Boomers centre Aaron Baynes was productive in limited minutes as the NBA-leading Boston Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 111-100 to improved their record to 21-4.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 32 points while Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had a game-high 40 points and nine rebounds.
The Cleveland Cavaliers won their 12th straight game after 24 points apiece from Dwayne Wade and Kevin Love saw them past the Chicago Bulls 113-91.
LeBron James added 23 points as the Cavs (17-7) consolidated second spot in the east behind Boston.