BEN Simmons and his rising Philadelphia 76ers teammates have maintained their perfect start to the pre-season with another comfortable victory.
For the second straight game Simmons sat out the final quarter after the 76ers had built a 15-point lead through the opening three-quarters.
The signs for the upcoming 2018/19 season look ominous for the Eastern Conference with the 76ers showing their prowess.
NBA star’s vicious rookie take-down
After completely decimating Melbourne United in their opening encounter, Philadelphia made it two-straight with a 120-114 win over the Orlando Magic.
While the margin wasn’t as convincing as their first game, the 76ers cruised after holding a 15-point advantage after three quarters.
Ben Simmons and the rest of the starting squad once again sat out the entire fourth quarter after dominating the early stages.
Simmons notched 21 minutes of playing time, after playing 26 on Saturday, and as he always does he pitched in all over the floor.
The superstar Aussie ended the contest with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Taking his pre-season averages to 8.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 10.5 assists.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 2, 2018
Just like it was in their first game, All-Star big man Joel Embiid led the way for Philly after dropping 21 points and pulling down 7 rebounds.
Embiid proved unstoppable throughout the contest as Orlando’s big men in Nikola Vucevic and rookie Mohamed Bamba were turned into passengers during the show.
But the battle did end once the final siren sounded as Embiid delivered his most brutal shot after the game on Bamba’s Instagram account.
Bamba posted an image from the game of him rising up and attempting to dunk on Embiid and it didn’t take long for the 76ers star to respond.
“Bruh that’s a block, layup … whatever that is. You were BBQ chicken on the post tonight. You had 4 fouls in 8 mins young fella. I would’ve fouled you out in 10. That’s a welcome to the f league. Gotta learn how to guard without fouling. All love haha,” Embiid wrote.
In further promising signs for the 76ers season ahead, 2017 number one draft pick Markelle Fultz showed even better signs on the day.
After a tumultuous rookie season, where his jumpshot completely abandoned him, Fultz once again registered double-digit scoring with a host of his points coming from jump shots.
The rise of Fultz will not only boost the 76ers, but will help to elevate pressure away from Aussie Ben Simmons.
“So much more pressure off of me, in terms of doing a lot more. I don’t have to do as much, but at the same time I need to be really focused when I get out there and not have to worry about certain things as much,” Simmons said in relation to Fultz.
“Having him out there helps so much and just knowing that we have three guys who are able to make plays at the rim and get to the hole helps tremendously.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 2, 2018
Simmons was forced off the floor in the second quarter after clashing heads with his direct opponent, Aaron Gordon.
The blow opened up a small gash above the right eye of Simmons who retreated to the locker room where he had stitches put in and a large bandage placed over the top.
Philly will now head over to China for their next two pre-season games against the Dallas Mavericks, before they open the NBA 2018/19 season against the Boston Celtics on October 17 at 11am (AEST).
Hawks rookie steals Simmons’ shine
As Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers cruised towards their second-straight NBA pre-season victory, a fellow rookie from 2017/18 was stealing the spotlight.
Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins didn’t poll a vote in the Rookie of the Year award, but he was the talk of the NBA in his teams game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Collins averaged 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds throughout his rookie season and he combined with new teammate, and fifth overall draft pick, Trae Young for a ridiculous play.
As Young drove into the lane with Collins trailing, he threw the ball up and off of the backboard which Collins rose up to collect and slam home.
Simmons compiled a serviceable line of 9 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists, but it’s Collins who won the day with 18 points and 3 rebounds in only 19 minutes of playing time.
Trae Young off-the-backboard to John Collins ok pic.twitter.com/MVJIhUmAUB
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) October 2, 2018
Trae Young tosses an alley oop off the backboard that John Collins throws down – in the halfcourt offense. Collins is not on a high-profile team but some of the stuff he does above the rim is ridiculous
— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) October 2, 2018
What shooting worries?
It’s been the biggest question mark hanging over the head of Ben Simmons since his first games in the NBA.
How can you be a superstar when you can’t shoot?
Despite the lack of a jump shot, Simmons showed he’s still a force to be reckoned with, but did admit he spent his time in the off-season working on the missing aspect.
It appears the work is starting to pay dividends as Simmons showed off his improved technique at the free throw line.
Simmons already has gone 3 for 4 from line tonight.
Brown said last week that he’d like to see 4 or more attempts per game from Ben.
— Brian Seltzer (@brianseltzer) October 1, 2018
Simmons’ free throw shooting looks improved, very mechanical but better
— Ryan Nichols (@RyanPNichols) October 1, 2018
Ben Simmons’ warning to league
Philadelphia were at their dominant best in the first game of the NBA preseason when they tore apart Melbourne United.
The big change in the contest was the insertion of number one draft pick Markelle Fultz into the starting line-up after an injury riddled first season.
Fultz showed early on in the game why he was taken with the top selection and his work with Ben Simmons showed an even more dangerous side to the rampant 76ers.
The move allowed Simmons to play off of the ball more and opened up the floor a lot more for him to dissect opposing defences.
Simmons spoke about how having Fultz running alongside him in the back-court is going to expand the floor and threw out the warning to the league it’s going to be almost impossible to stop them.
“If you look at it like shooting guard or point guard, it’s kind of limiting yourself to what you do,” Simmons said.
“I don’t look at myself as a point guard or a power forward or anything like that, I’m a player.
“Once I step on the floor there’s things I can do that anybody else can do. Set picks, post-up, give the ball up and score the ball. I just want to be an all-round player, I don’t want to limit myself to any one position.
“It expands everybody’s game, it’s hard to stop two guys on the floor who can do that.”
The relationship between the pair continued to grow in the early stages of the second game with Simmons running the floor and finding a wide-open Fultz in the corner.
— NBA (@NBA) October 1, 2018