Ben Simmons stands his ground against Jayson Tatum. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons stands his ground against Jayson Tatum. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Season of Simmons starts with a sizzle

THERE were no three-point attempts for Ben Simmons in a game where both teams were atrocious from long-range but as far as statement games go this was what Philadelphia fans were looking for first-up from their Australian point guard.

Simmons was quite simply the best player on the court as the 76ers bumped and bruised their way to a 107-93 win in Thurday's season-opener at home.

Showcasing the aggressive intent and willingness to lead coach Brett Brown expects in year three, Simmons finished with a team-high 24 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

On a night where franchise centre Joel Embiid and new front court teammate Al Horford suffered through foul trouble and poor shooting - and the 76ers were an ugly 7/29 from three - Simmons carried the scoring load to secure a win against a team that has given Philly fits the past two years.

"We'll have a chance to see that frequently," Brown said.

"He's so gifted physically but now it's started to morph into a mentality ... it's a powerful combination."

He again showed why he doesn't need a jumpshot to dominate NBA games and while that's proven to be a problem come play-off time, it's not in October.

Simmons showed off his unique athleticism, body control and finishing ability to lay-in some sensational finishes - none better than artful right-handed conversion on a fast break.

A season that carries championship-level expectations for Philadelphia began in positive fashion.

The lack of shooting is a problem that needs to be solved and Philly won't always be easy to watch this season.

But holding a team that averaged more than 112 points per game last season to 93 showed their potential to be a defensive nightmare.

Ex-Hornets guard Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum have new-found responsibility after the departures of Horford and Kyrie Irving but finished a combined 12/40.

Gordon Hayward was a more encouraging 8/15 for 25 points as he seeks to re-establish himself as an elite player.

News Corp Australia

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