It was Simmons v LeBron James in the triple-double battle as the 76ers held off the Cavaliers Saturday night by two points.
In front of Philly legend Allen Iverson, Cleveland was pitiful in the first half, handing the ball over to the Sixers time and time again as Simmons dominated in the open floor with a series of highlight reel plays.
It really was a sight to behold.
In one of the biggest games in recent Philadelphia history, the Sixers nearly squandered a 30-point lead, surviving a huge comeback from the Cleveland Cavaliers to squeak out a two-point victory, 132-130, a 13th win on the bounce. As a team, the Mavericks shot 43 percent from the field and 13 of 39 from the three-point line as they drained a clutch three with 11.3 seconds left in regulation to force overtime where they managed just five points. Simmons had 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists.
The Cavs now hold a half-game lead over the Sixers, having played an extra game, but on Friday, a Sixers win would have them control their own destiny for the remainder of the season.
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The Sixers (49-30) moved into third place in the Eastern Conference over the Cavaliers (49-31).
Simmons has put up gaudy numbers during this winning streak, averaging 14.6 points, 11.1 assists, and 10.3 rebounds. James could have tied the game with 1.9 seconds left.
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"We dug ourselves in the hole, we are a prideful team, and the only way to get back in the game is to get scrappy", he said.
James started yapping at the refs, the crowd howled as he complained, and the arena felt like a Game 7.
"They completely understand that it's now April and we're going to blink and be playing in the playoffs", 76ers coach Brett Brown said.
The contest was played with the intensity of a playoff game.
The seeding takes on added importance with both teams chances at making a long postseason run increasing once Boston lost Kyrie Irving for the season.
For Cleveland, they have been here before and with LeBron James know they can achieve the impossible.
Even without All-Star center Joel Embiid, who suffered an orbital fracture and a concussion in his club's March 28 contest against NY, the 76ers have continued to play well in the second half of the season.
Luckily for them, the Sixers finally caught up on offense. You add in the Eagles and Villanova that helps as well.
The NBA stars were among the headline names on the list of 35 players chosen Friday for USA Basketball's national team pool of players for 2018-20. But before the 76ers could even think, "We did this without Joel Embiid", the Cavaliers roared back to win the second half, 75-54.