‘Outplayed the King’: Simmons ruins history
Aussie NBA superstar Ben Simmons has pulled out another blinder of a performance to deny LeBron James' LA Lakers on the night the legend became the third highest scorer in NBA history.
Simmons continued to excel without All-Star centre Joel Embiid in the side, piling on 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to fall just short of the triple double as the Philadelphia 76ers claimed a 108-91 win over the high-flying Lakers.
He also added four steals to become the only player in the league with nine games with four or more steals.
Watch the 2019/20 NBA Season with ESPN on KAYO. Up to up to 7 LIVE games every week! New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
The 23-year-old Aussie has silenced his sceptics recently with a run of brilliance.
In the past nine games, he has averaged 21.6 points per games, 9.5 rebound and 7.9 assists and 2.3 steals.
In his last seven games, Simmons has scored 20 points or more in six of the games, while claiming 10 rebounds in five of the games.
Ben Simmons just dropped 28 points (12/15 FG), 10 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals in the 76ers’ win over the Lakers.— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) January 26, 2020
Here are Simmons’ lines over his last 7 games (39.9 mpg, all without Embiid):
After his All-Star starter snub during the week, it was a perfect reaction from the Aussie.
And he was also able to spoil the LeBron James party as the star moved past Kobe Bryant into sole possession of third place on the list of all-time NBA scorers.
Midway through the third quarter, LeBron hit a layup to pass Bryant and received a warm response, despite his Lakers being 20 points down on the scoreboard.
The basket that moved LeBron past Kobe: pic.twitter.com/8oE1E7af7D— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) January 26, 2020
Even Bryant responded on social media with love for the superstar.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
Simmons, who proved to be a thorn in the side of LeBron throughout the game, also had a warm embrace with the Lakers' superstar as they shared a few words.
It leaves LeBron on 33,655 points behind only Karl Malone on 36,928 points and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on 38,387.
Simmons was asked about LeBron post match and shared nothing by love.
"Awesome, he's an all-time superstar, megastar, I've got a lot of respect for him, that guy's my brother, congrats to him," he said.
He wasn't the only one paying tribute to LeBron with Sixers coach Brett Brown also praising the Laker.
"Just as a fan, you step back and you just watch his body of work, no matter where he goes, and it is just off-the-charts unique," he said. "And he does it with class. He really, amongst all his successes, and the attention that he receives on a daily basis, and the content need that your job requires, he doesn't seem to blink."
As for Simmons, Brown called his star "really special", praise that was echoed by social media, with fans brushing off his lack of three point shooting after 28 points in the paint.
On a night there was so much focus about LeBron James moving into 3rd place on the all-time scoring list (respect), dare we say...the kid outplayed the king? Ben Simmons was a tone setter, a stopper, and a leader. Outstanding performance.— brianseltzer (@brianseltzer) January 26, 2020
Ben Simmons is an u real basketball player. He just plays the game. He does him when this analytic world wants him to shoot 3’s, but the bots voted for a player that shoots 3’s to start over him despite that player being on a team with the worst record in conference! @NBA— Eddie A Johnson (@Jumpshot8) January 26, 2020
Great win by Ben Simmons and the @Sixers tonight against the Lakers.— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) January 26, 2020
Nobody wants to come into Philly this year. This is why it is imperative the Sixers get into a higher seed in the east before the playoffs begin.
Lakers admittedly at the end of a tough road trip and couldn't buy a 3, but this is an excellent win for an undermanned Sixers team. Simmons, Harris and Horford were all great. Simmons was probably better than great.— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) January 26, 2020
imagine trading ben simmons— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) January 26, 2020
Just 13 times on record and just three times since the 2000-2001 season has an NBA player scored at least 28 points on 80% shooting to go with 8 dimes and 4 steals.— Jimmy (@_JimmyMcCormick) January 26, 2020
Ben Simmons has done so twice in the past six days. pic.twitter.com/a2Sw0I1EXe
LeBron's historic moment comes just days after Michael Jordan gave a rare insight into his beliefs regarding the NBA GOAT debate.
While many consider MJ the man, LeBron has been mounting a case.
But the billionaire and Charlotte Hornets owner said it's hard to compare the pair.
"I just think we played in different eras. He's an unbelievable player," Jordan said.
"He's one of the best players in the world, if not the best player in the world. I know it's a natural tendency to compare eras to eras, and it's going to continue to happen. I'm a fan of his. I love watching him play.
"But as you can see, our league is starting to expand [with] very talented players. I think he's made his mark. He will continue to do so over a period of time, but when you start the comparisons, I think it is what it is.
"It's just a stand-up measurement, and I take it with a grain of salt. He's a heck of a basketball player without a doubt."