Simmons, Team LeBron Overcome Embiid, Team Giannis in All-Star Game

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

He didn’t finish with the biggest box line of the night, or take home any heady individual hardware.

But in the first All-Star Game appearance of his young, budding career, Ben Simmons sure as heck performed like a guy who had been there before.

Assuming a critical role in Team LeBron’s 178-164 victory over Team Giannis Sunday at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, the 22-year old Simmons posted 10 points (on 5 for 5 shooting no less), six rebounds (4 of which were on the offensive glass), a team-high seven assists, zero turnovers, and one steal in 16 minutes as a reserve.

Most telling, he manufactured a plus-19 rating, good for second-highest among all participants.

Simmons’ best stretch came during a massive surge late in the third quarter that propelled Team LeBron back into the game. He subbed in just past the midway point, and proceeded to swiftly jumpstart his squad’s comeback bid.

First came a couple offensive rebounds, one of which yielded a 3-pointer, then an assist on another triple that cut the once 20-point deficit to two.

Simmons later connected on a turnaround jump shot that gave Team LeBron its first lead, 132-131, since the opening minutes of regulation. He even played defense - effective defense, too - which is saying something for an All-Star Game.

“I think it’s being around so many great players,” Simmons said Sunday when asked during the NBA on TNT broadcast about his first All-Star Game experience. “It makes you want to get better.”

Lined up opposite Simmons in the Queen City was his 76ers teammate Joel Embiid, the starting five man for Team Giannis. The 7-footer had some solid moments of his own, tallying 10 points (4-12 fg) and 12 boards in 23 minutes of action.

Following Sunday’s exhibition, Simmons, Embiid, and the rest of the Sixers will be idle until Thursday, when they regroup for the 2018-19 home stretch by hosting the Miami Heat at The Center.