Simmons' 76ers in shaky NBA season return
Ben Simmons was moved to power forward as the Philadelphia 76ers resumed their NBA season with a new starting five but the change got off to a shaky start.
In the Sixers' first game since the campaign restarted in the Orlando bubble, Simmons had 19 points and 13 rebounds in a 127-121 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers were stung by a career-high 53 points from T.J. Warren - who became the first Pacers players since Jermaine O'Neal in 2005 to score at least 50 points.
Simmons played more than 38 minutes in his first NBA game since a back injury sidelined him before the season was shut down due to coronavirus in March but could do little on the defensive end to curtail Warren's impact.
Australian All-Star Simmons was shifted to the four spot by Brett Brown with Shake Milton instead starting at point guard.
Milton had a tough night against the Pacers and he had to be separated at the end of the first quarter from Joel Embiid after a heated disagreement, which the star Sixers centre post-game described as "nothing".
"It's basketball," Embiid said.
"Everybody makes mistakes. It happens.
"We've gotta communicate better.
"As players, it happens everywhere... You discuss what's going on and you move on, you find a solution."
Embiid was spectacular with 41 points, 21 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots but could not prevent the Sixers slipping to 39-27 on the season and sixth in the Eastern Conference.
Brown admitted Milton "struggled' but believed the incident between his players was a non issue.
"I don't know the full details of it, but I think, for the most part, it's healthy," he said.
"And those two will move on quickly. They're good friends, it's just sometimes stuff like that happens in a family."
The Pacers improved to 40-26 despite playing without key injured starters Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon.
Simmons was not the only Australian to lose on Saturday with Joe Ingles' Utah Jazz beaten 110-94 by the fast-starting Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kyle Lowry had 33 points and 14 rebounds to drive the Toronto Raptors past the Los Angeles Lakers 107-92.
It was the 11th in win a row for the champion Raptors over the Lakers, who were led by 20 points and 10 rebounds from LeBron James.
Los Angeles Clippers set a franchise record 25 made three-pointers in their 126-103 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans while Miami Heat defeated the Denver Nuggets 125-105.
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