Ben Simmons recorded his first triple-double for the Brooklyn Nets, despite the team’s 106-98 all-time AEDT loss on the road to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
Simmons finished with an extremely rounded line with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to go with four steals and two blocks in 34 minutes – one of three Nets players to finish on a positive plus-minus – and shot 4 from 10 from the field and 2-of-2 from the free throw lime.
It was also the Australian’s first triple-double since June 2, 2021, when he was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, and put him in the same all-time 12th place in NBA history.
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Wed, January 18
Wednesday January 18th
The Nets played without both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — although it was a short stint without Simmons that defeated them as they lost to the woeful Spurs in front of 13,532 at the AT&T Center.
Keldon Johnson, who scored a game-high 36 points, ignited the Nets (27-16), who are 0-3 since Durant went down Jan. 8 with a sprained right MCL. Irving was ruled out just before the tip. with a sore right calf.
That left Simmons as the last man standing from his All-Star Big 3. A third-quarter dry spell that left Simmons on the bench with nasty problems proved too much to handle.
TJ Warren scored 19 points off the bench to lead the Nets. Seth Curry started in place of Irving and scored a modest 16 points, with Nic Claxton and Cam Thomas a point behind.
But when Simmons picked up his fourth foul with a 58-all score at 7:47 in the third, Spurs promptly went on a 6-0 run.
He did not return for the remainder of the period as the run reached 18-10. The Nets were trailing 76-68 early in the fourth quarter, and they never got closer than four the rest of the night.
That against the woeful San Antonio (14-31), who have put up as much defensive resistance as wet tissue this season – single-leg. It was a terrible way to end a five-game straight swing, as you can imagine.
While Durant won’t even be rerated until early next week, the Nets expect Irving to be back for their Friday game in Phoenix.
“He only reported a small narrowness. So basically just day by day. We’ll get treatment, get it checked out (Thursday) and hopefully only on short notice,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said of Irving, who didn’t have an MRI and should be ready to face the Suns. “Yes, hope so. That’s definitely the hope that after a day you get treated and hopefully ready to compete against Phoenix yeah.
After coming onto the board first with a Simmons hook, the Nets allowed 10 points unanswered, topped by a three-point play by Jeremy Cochan. They were down 27-15 after a miserable first quarter.
The Nets faced four separate 14-point deficits, the last after a running layup by Tre Jones making it 31-17 Spurs with 9:56 at the half.
The Nets then buckled and finally got their offense going against one of the league’s worst defensive teams. They reeled off 10 unanswered points led by their bench, Warren’s middle distance play and Edmond Sumner’s pace. Warren capped the sprint with a 16-foot pullup from a Simmons assist, pulling the nets within 31-27.
The deficit was still 42:38 after a free throw by Jeremy Sochan. He had been fouled by Markieff Morris, from whom he had to be separated shortly before. But the Nets started an 11-2 run to get in front.
Thomas’ driving finger roll took her to 49-44 with 2:55 at halftime, and the score was tied 51-51 and going to the dressing room.
It was still tied, at 58-58, when Simmons went on the bench with his fourth foul. By this point, the Spurs had six unanswered points and the Nets never got closer than 82-78 the rest of the evening with a Curry 3 pointer.
-This article was first published in the New York Post and is reproduced with permission