Simmons ‘emotional’ as season in lurch

Ben Simmons was reportedly emotional after a preliminary X-ray scan on his injured back following the Sixers’ thumping in Milwaukee.

The Australian star has been ruled out of Tuesday’s (AEDT) game with the Atlanta Hawks and his return to the court is uncertain.

Simmons winced in pain and retreated to the locker room just five minutes into the 76ers’ demoralising 21-point loss to the Bucks.

ESPN reported Simmons was “emotional” after leaving the X-ray room in the Bucks’ arena, adding to concerns the injury may keep him off the court for an extended period.

“Simmons left the Sixers’ 119-98 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday after tweaking his back in the first quarter,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was too much for the Sixers to handle.Source:AP

“Sources had described Simmons as emotional upon leaving the X-ray room at the Fiserv Forum late Saturday. There is some level of concern surrounding the possible nature of the injury, league sources said.”

He had an MRI scan in Philadelphia on Monday with the results likely to determine whether the 76ers remain legitimate contenders to defeat the Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics in the playoffs and compete for the NBA title.

“We’ll learn more about Ben later,” 76ers coach Brett Brown told reporters after the loss to the Bucks.

“I don’t have anything more to say than that.”

Simmons appeared healthy in last week’s All-Star game but he sat out the 76ers’ 112-104 overtime victory against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday with lower back tightness.

— with AAP


LeBron James dropped the bomb.Source:Getty Images

LeBron James scored 29 points and put the Lakers ahead on a fall-away jumper with 30 seconds to play, and Los Angeles split its season series with the Boston Celtics with a 114-112 victory on Monday.

LeBron smirked, then hit the CLUTCH fadeaway ?

James missed a tying free throw moments before he coolly nailed the shot the put the Lakers ahead to stay in a frenetic fourth quarter to cap the latest chapter of this famed NBA rivalry.

Anthony Davis had 32 points and 13 rebounds in the fifth straight win overall for the Lakers, who took a 32-point blowout loss in Boston last month.

Davis hit two free throws with 12.3 seconds left and added one more with 6.7 seconds to play, before Jayson Tatum was called for charging in the final second as he attempted to create one last basket.

Tatum matched his career high with 41 points for the Celtics, who had won 12 of 14 starting with that dominant win over the Lakers in January. Boston turned the ball over with 15.5 seconds left after James’ big shot, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens got a technical foul for arguing about it. Davis missed that free throw, however.

Grant Williams hit two free throws for Boston immediately afterwards, and Davis hit one of two to give a final chance to the Celtics.

Jaylen Brown scored 20 points for Boston, but Kemba Walker missed his second straight game with left knee soreness.

Tatum underlined his growing superstardom by matching the career high he set against New Orleans last month. He scored 16 points in a five-minute barrage alone during the third quarter, finishing the period with 18.

Los Angeles is comfortably atop the Western Conference standings, while the Celtics sit third in the East. Both teams have a decent shot of meeting in the NBA Finals for the 13th time if they continue to grow from big games like this thriller.



Steph Curry is the light at the end of the tunnel for the Warriors.Source:Supplied

Golden State star Stephen Curry took part in his first full-contact practice since breaking his left hand in October on Saturday and is targeting a March 1 NBA return.

“He got an ovation today when I told the group he was going to scrimmage with us,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “Everyone was excited. It’ll be good for our young guys to feel what it’s like to play with him, and vice-versa.” Curry, 31, required surgery after breaking a bone in his left hand on October 30 in a game against the Phoenix Suns.

Although his return date is not certain, he has indicated he’s aiming for the Warriors’ March 1 game against the Washington Wizards.

Curry said Saturday he has nerve damage in his non-shooting hand that could affect his play.

“I’m getting used to what the new normal is,” Curry said. “It definitely feels different than the right, but you can try to get it to the point where when you’re actually playing basketball, you don’t think about it.” Curry averaged 20.3 points, 6.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds in four games before the injury.

The Warriors have reached the past five NBA Finals, taking titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018 before losing to Toronto in last year’s championship series.

But without Kevin Durant, who left for Brooklyn after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in last year’s NBA Finals that has sidelined for this season, and injured star guards Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors are currently last in the Western Conference.

A return for Curry would give him time to play alongside new teammates like recently acquired Andrew Wiggins as the Warriors try to build momentum heading into next season.

— AP

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