Simmons suffers another injury setback; Paolo’s emotional post-match interview: NBA Wrap

    The Nets came into Saturday (all times US) wondering how to get Ben Simmons playing well alongside another non-shooter.

    Now they’re just wondering how to keep him playing at all.

    The oft-injured Simmons, the only All-Star on Brooklyn’s roster, went down again. This time he got forced out of their 101-86 loss to Minnesota before a sellout crowd of 18,024 at the Target Center with a leg injury.

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    Simmons has played just 55 games for the Nets since being acquired at the 2022 Trade Deadline at the cost of former MVP James Harden. Most of that missed time is due to a herniated disc, and leg injuries brought on by those aforementioned back woes.

    Now Brooklyn’s starting point guard has another issue, forced out of the game with left leg soreness with 8:04 left in the third quarter.

    He was ruled out for the rest of the evening.

    When Simmons left, Brooklyn was trailing 53-51, and promptly knotted the score on a Nic Claxton alley oop from his replacement, Dennis Schroder.

    The Nets — who bounced back nicely from a dismal loss Thursday at Toronto in interim Kevin Ollie’s debut — led 72-70 on a short Cam Thomas jumper with 9:28 to play.

    But that’s when Minnesota finally pulled away.

    Brooklyn coughed up a 19-6 run, and never challenged after that.

    New Jersey native Kyle Anderson put the Timberwolves ahead 89-78, and the game was essentially over.

    There was some added spice with Schroder fouling Mike Conley on a 3-point attempt in the waning garbage time seconds, and getting pushed by Nickeil Alexander-Walker to prompt an altercation review.

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    Four technical fouls got handed out. And none mattered.

    Brioklyn fell to 21-35.

    Karl Anthony-Towns, another New Jerseyan, had a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota.

    Anthony Edwards added 26 points and eight boards for the Timberwolves, who played without centre Rudy Gobert.

    Turns out they didn’t need their defensive shot-blocker.

    Cam Thomas led the Nets with a modest 18 points and six rebounds, while Mikal Bridges added 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

    Brooklyn shot just 34.0 per cent, and a staggeringly-bad 6-of-35 from 3-point range.

    Coming in, putting Simmons on the floor with another non-shooter had been their concern. Now they have bigger problems.

    The fired Jacque Vaughn never quite found the perfect way to compensate for Simmons’ lack of a jumper.

    “Yeah, that’s what we’re trying to push him, and I think he is able to do it,” said Ollie. “And when we get in halfcourt situations, having him play with pace and having us have the right spacing around him is gonna be crucial. But when he sees that gap, he’s got to take it to the rim. I think he’ll do that.”

    “Yeah, that’s what we’re trying to push him, and I think he is able to do it,” said Ollie. “And when we get in halfcourt situations, having him play with pace and having us have the right spacing around him is gonna be crucial. But when he sees that gap, he’s got to take it to the rim. I think he’ll do that.”

    -This story was originally published in The New York Post and reproduced with permission.


    Paolo Banchero’s three-point play with 0.1 of a second remaining gave the Orlando Magic a 112-109 victory at Detroit. Banchero sank the game-winning jumper while being fouled and added the free throw for the dramatic triumph.

    “It was important,” said a tearful Banchero of his final shot. “It was a hard game and I’ve been sick. I’ve been feeling terrible. I just give credit to my teammates. They lifted me up the whole game.

    “I don’t know why I’m crying. It was a hard game. I’m proud of my team.” Banchero’s 15 points led eight double-figure scorers for

    Orlando, which improved to 32-25, level with Indiana for sixth in the East.

    The Pistons, led by Cade Cunningham’s 26 points, fell to an NBA-worst 8-48 with a fifth consecutive loss.

    Franz Wagner’s free throw gave Orlando a 109-105 lead with 96 seconds remaining. Cunningham answered with a jumper and a layup for

    Detroit, the latter pulling the Pistons level at 109-109 with 12 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Banchero’s heroics.


    Jaylen Brown scored 30 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 22 as the Boston Celtics stretched their NBA win streak to eight games on Saturday by defeating New York 116-102.

    The Celtics improved to NBA’s best record to 45-12 and boosted their win streak to a season high while stretching their Eastern Conference lead over second-place Cleveland to eight games.

    Jayson Tatum added 19 points, six rebounds and six assists as Boston had six scorers in double figures.

    “We’ve got so many good players on our team,” Tatum said. “We always talk about respecting each other’s space. It’s about understanding it’s a rhythm game. It’s going to come back to you eventually.”

    Tatum says the players adopt a long-term approach, keeping in mind the overall goal is an NBA title in June.

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    “We have a really good team and we understand the important goal, what we’re really trying to accomplish, so every single night we’re trying to share the love, play the right way and make sure we win more often than not,” Tatum said.

    Jalen Brunson had game highs of 34 points and nine assists to lead the Knicks, who fell to 34-23.

    Porzingis, who began his NBA career with the Knicks in 2015, sank two 3-pointers and Brown scored five points in a 17-5 third-quarter Boston run that gave the Celtics their biggest lead to that point at 84-71 on the way to a 97-84 lead after three quarters – the Celtics hitting 68% of their shots from the floor entering the fourth quarter.

    Boston kept the Knicks scoreless for five minutes in the heart of the fourth quarter to help seal New York’s fate, the Celtics stretching the lead as high as 20 points.


    MAGIC 112 PISTONS 109

    CELTICS 116 KNICKS 102


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