NBA

Ben Simmons returns against the Dallas Mavericks, comes off bench for the first time

By Sports Desk November 07, 2022

The Brooklyn Nets welcomed Ben Simmons back to the rotation on Monday after he missed four games with swelling in his knee.

Simmons, who was acquired by the Nets during last season as the centre-piece in their trade sending James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers, had previously started all 281 games in his NBA career before coming off the bench against the Dallas Mavericks.

The 26-year-old Australian averaged a career-low 14.3 points per game in the 2020-21 season – his last regular season before missing all of the 2021-22 campaign – but that figure has plummeted down to 6.2 points per game as he finds his footing with a new team and a new role.

In his 10 games for the Nets across both the preseason and the start of the regular season, Simmons is yet to score 10 points in a contest, however he is leading Brooklyn in assists (7.3 per game).

Against the Mavericks, Simmons joined Seth Curry as the first players off the Nets' bench with 2:39 remaining in the first quarter.

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    Doncic again displayed his ability to perform in the biggest moments on Friday as he drained a 3-pointer over four-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to lead the Mavericks to a 109-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, one that leaves them 2-0 up in their Western Conference final.

    The Mavericks came back from an 18-point deficit to tighten their grip on the series, with Doncic leading the way. The five-time All-Star ended the game with 32 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, becoming just the fourth player in NBA history to manage four triple-doubles across a five-game postseason span.

    Kidd hailed Doncic's game-winning impact, saying there was no other option but to try and get him the ball when deciding what play to run during the timeout with 13 seconds remaining

    "As you've seen, he loves that stage," Kidd told reporters. "He doesn't run from it. He made a big shot. Luka is special. He loves those type of moments.

    "The play was to get Luka the ball and let Luka do what he does in those moments."

    Doncic believes the comeback, the Mavericks' third-biggest in their postseason history, was down to his team's mindset as he ruthlessly snatched the game away from the Timberwolves.

    "Like I always say, stay together, positive energy," Doncic explained. "We believed until the end.

    "I just saw some space and decided to shoot a 3. Get to my spot, step back. That's it."

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    Jaden McDaniels, who had 20-plus points in each of Minnesota’s last three games, didn’t make a basket until midway through the third. He finished with two points on 1-of-6 shooting.

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    The Celtics won 126-110 on Thursday to move two games ahead in their Eastern Conference finals series against the Pacers.

    Indiana were also dealt a blow when star player Tyrese Haliburton suffered a hamstring injury, which the Pacers will wait agonisingly on.

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    Pacers coach Rick Carlisle added: "We'll know more [on Friday] and then probably more Saturday."

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