The Associated PressPHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ben Simmons foiled the Hack-a-Shaq strategy.
Simmons scored 31 points, grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds and overcame several intentional fouls, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 118-113 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
After cutting a 22-point deficit to single digits with five minutes left, the Wizards started fouling Simmons, who entered the game shooting 56.6 percent from the line. He went 15-for-29, but made six of his last eight.
“I have no fear of taking free throws,” Simmons said. “It’s not going to happen for much longer.”
Joel Embiid had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Dario Saric added 24 points to help the Sixers (12-8) win for the sixth time in eight games. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 22 points and Bradley Beal and Jodie Meeks each had 21 for the Wizards (11-10), who have lost five of seven.
The Wizards cut the deficit to 14 when Meeks hit consecutive 3-pointers. It was 96-88 when Washington began to send Simmons to the foul line. He missed four of eight free throws as Philadelphia’s lead dwindled to 100-97 with 3:35 to go.
“It’s not my rule, it’s an NBA rule,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said about fouling Simmons. “Just trying to do whatever it takes to cut the lead. His free throw percentage is not good at the moment so it gave us a chance to shoot 3s while they hopefully miss free throws.”
After Simmons made one and missed one, Embiid grabbed the rebound and got fouled. He made one of two. Beals then missed a jumper and Simmons again went to the line and made both, extending the lead to 104-97.
“It’s frustrating, but I trust Ben to step up and he did a great job,” Embiid said.
Spurs extend Grizzlies skid to 9
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge set his San Antonio high with 41 points and the Spurs spoiled J.B. Bickerstaff’s debut as Memphis coach, beating the Grizzlies 104-95 to hand them their ninth straight loss.
Aldridge established a season best for the second consecutive game, topping his 33-point outing Monday against Dallas.
Tony Parker had 10 points and five assists while playing 18 minutes in his second game back since undergoing surgery to repair a torn left quadriceps tendon.
San Antonio, which became the first NBA team with 10 home wins this season, has won three straight overall.