Ben Simmons bounced back from his All-Star selection snub to record a fifth triple double of the season, as the 76ers cruised to a win on 'Australian Heritage Night'.
Simmons finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists as Philly saw off the Chicago Bulls, 115-101.
With fans being given free t-shirts with boxing kangaroos on them and Collingwood star Dane Swan ringing the pre-match bell, it was appropriate that the Victorian native Simmons produced arguably his best performance of the year.
It was the perfect response from Simmons, who was widely tipped to be picked on the bench for the NBA All-Star game in his rookie season after narrowly missing out on being a starter - but with the reserves being selected by coaches rather than fans, players and the media, he was bypassed for several players who had received fewer votes than him originally.
The win sees Philadelphia cement their place inside the top eight in the Eastern Conference at just past the midway point of the season, meaning that a play-off appearance since 2011-12 is in sight.
One other consolation to his All-Star snub was that Simmons, along with teammates Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, was selected for the NBA's Rising Stars game, one of the curtain raisers to the main event on All-Star Weekend, which takes place from the 16th to 18th of February in Los Angeles.
The three Sixers will be a part of the World Team, comprised of international players, and will play a team of first and second-year players from the U.S.
"It means we're getting better," Embiid said shortly after the selections were announced.
Ben Simmons - 11 pts, 13 reb, 10 ast - has clinched 5th triple-double of his rookie season, the most for a first-year player since 1979-80, when Magic Johnson had 7.
Saric, who competed in the freshmen and sophomore showcase last season, said he was happy that he and Simmons were named to the Rising Stars team, but said he had wished that Simmons would have been picked for the main event All-Star Game along with Embiid.
"It's an honour to be a part of all-star week and to be participating in a game like that," Saric said. "But I'm just happy that I'm improving every season and it's a gift to me, to my parents, to my family, and all the people around me."
with The Philadelphia Inquirer