'Special' Simmons in 76ers' play-off win

·3-min read

Ben Simmons scored just six points but his coach has praised his "special" performance as the Philadelphia 76ers recorded a 125-118 home win over the Washington Wizards in their NBA play-off series opener.

The Sixers have two All Stars in Joel Embiid and Simmons but Tobias Harris showed they might have their own Big Three worthy of winning a championship by sinking a play-off career high 37 points.

Embiid added 30 points as the hosts won despite Simmons going 0 for 6 from the free-throw line - but he still contributed big time with 15 rebounds, 15 assists and his exceptional defence.

"He created so many points for us," coach Doc Rivers said of his Australian superstar.

"I thought he was special tonight. Whoever he guarded struggled scoring."

Simmons became the sixth 76ers player to record 15 or more assists in a play-off game and the first since Allen Iverson in 2005.

Harris scored 28 points in the first half, making a case that Philly has three big stars that could rival the superstar trio of Kevin Durant-James Harden-Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.

The eastern conference top-seeded Sixers needed Harris' outburst to offset an upset-minded Wizards team that were within five points with 45 seconds left.

Bradley Beal scored 33 points and Russell Westbrook had 16 - but neither sensational scorer took over in long enough stretches needed for an upset.

The crowd of 11,160 - roughly half-capacity - sounded as if it was 20,000-plus packing the house as they erupted in a "Trust the Process" chant at times as the Sixers claimed their first play-off win in two years.

While Simmons tasted first up playoffs success, there was disappointment for fellow Australian Joe Ingles as his Utah Jazz were upset 112-109 by the Memphis Grizzlies in their first-round series opener.

Top seeds in the western conference, the Jazz were without superstar Donovan Mitchell, who was a late scratching as he continues to rehab his sprained right ankle.

Dillon Brooks led with 31 points and seven rebounds for the eight-seeded Grizzlies who were in front early and up by as many as 17 points in the final quarter before a late Jazz fightback.

Ingles notched 11 points in 33 minutes as a starter for the Jazz while Bojan Bogdanovic scored 20 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Mike Conley had 22 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds and Rudy Gobert added 15 rebounds and 11 points.

In Phoenix, the Suns secured a 99-90 win over the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in game one of their series.

Seeded second in the western conference, the Suns lived up to their ranking despite All Star star guard Chris Paul playing in pain from a shoulder injury suffered in the second quarter.

Devin Booker scored 34 points, Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 16 rebounds as the Suns won their first playoff game in 11 years.

James finished with 18 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds while fellowsuperstar Anthony Davis shot just 5 of 16 from the field and had 13 points. The Lakers shot just 7 of 26 from 3-point range.

In New York, Trae Young made a game-winning floater with 0.9 seconds left as the Atlanta Hawks mounted a late rally to edge the New York Knicks 107-105 in game one of their eastern conference series.