Ben Simmons nets career-high 32 points as 76ers hold off pesky Bulls


It was a struggle for the Philadelphia 76ers from the foul line all night, but Ben Simmons knocked down the two that mattered most.

Simmons, who netted a career-high 32 points, sunk a pair of go-ahead free throws with 5.6 seconds left to lift the Sixers to a 116-115 victory over the pesky Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Simmons also added 11 assists and seven rebounds to his impressive stat line. He stormed out of the gate attacking the rim and showcased his entire repertoire, including his drives to the basket, post moves and mid-range jumper. He was 13-of-18 from the floor and 6-of-11 from the charity stripe.

On Chicago’s penultimate possession, Joel Embiid stole the inbounds pass before Simmons was fouled. Bobby Portis, who talled 38 points in a losing effort, and Devin Valentine were stymied at the other end as their shots in the paint went astray, sealing Philadelphia’s sixth straight victory.

Despite being a 56.5 percent shooter from the foul line, Simmons had no doubt in his mind that he’d make both foul shots.

“Stepping up to the line, I knew I was going to knock `em down. You have to have that mentality.”

Joel Embiid filled the box score with 30 points, 13 boards, five helpers, four blocks and three steals for Philadelphia, which went 21-of-35 (60 percent) from the foul line. The Sixers raced out to a 25-7 start before the midway point of the opening frame, with Embiid putting in a pair of 3-pointers within the first two minutes of the game.

Then Chicago began reigning triples, trimming the deficit to 33-29 at the end of the first before erupting for 40 points in the second period. Chicago, which finished 18-of-34 from downtown, led 69-67 at the break. It was a nip-and-tuck affair from there on in the second half.


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