Sixers clinch home-court in opening round and extend win streak


With the easy win, Philadelphia improved to 50-30 overall which is now good for third place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Simmons is enjoying a phenomenal freshman campaign, averaging 16 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists while shooting 54.7 percent from the field and snagging 1.7 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.

"Who would I pick? Me, 100 percent", Simmons told ESPN Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Philadelphia. He's one of these rare players that I think shoots better off balance.... If you look at the numbers, you will see.

In other games on Sunday, Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points to help the Utah Jazz clinch a playoff berth with a 112-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

His confidence isn't misplaced either.

Jayson Tatum had 19 points to lead the Celtics, who fell for just the third time in their past 10 games despite the loss of Kyrie Irving for the season. Marvin Williams finished with 16 points and Dwight Howard had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, but All-Star Kemba Walker tallied just 12 points.

Simmons has 12 triple-doubles, putting him second all-time for rookies behind only Oscar Robertson.

The Sixers have won 50 games for the first time in 17 years and with two games left have a pretty good shot at being the No. 3 seed in the National Basketball Association playoffs. Now riding a 14-game winning streak, Simmons and the Sixers have already clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, could finish as high as third in the Eastern Conference, and have won 50 games for the first time since 2001 - the season Allen Iverson led them to the Finals.

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Though he's been nothing short of sensation for Philly, he's by no means the runaway favourite for the award.

Mitchell's dynamic playmaking ability has been eye-catching on a daily basis and he too has etched his name in the rookie record books this season.

And the 6'10 Australian has shown his worth during the Sixers 14-game win streak that has thrust them to third place in the Eastern Conference.

"None", Simmons said. "I want to be where the greats are". So, for me, I watch the guys like (Kevin Durant), (LeBron James), (Stephen) Curry, Russell (Westbrook). Guys like that. That's where I want to be.

Where can I watch on TV? .

The NBA's postseason awards won't be announced until June 25, which leaves a whole lot of time for debate over who deserves Rookie of the Year (even after the ballots are in), as well as further trash talk from the top candidates.

"I hope that I represent a real-time example to other owners that can say, 'Here's the plan, and we're really going to adhere to the plan and walk it down and not blink,"' Brown said.