Ben Simmons had some choice words for his detractors after the Australian took control in the fourth quarter to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 122-110 win over the Boston Celtics.
The two-time NBA All-Star has been criticised for his low-scoring start to the NBA season, with James Harden’s trade from Houston to Brooklyn – and not to Philadelphia at the expense of Simmons – igniting that further.
The new-look 76ers have amassed an 11-5 record with Simmons pulling the strings though, defying widespread omissions because of a positive COVID-19 test, to sit at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Simmons ensured the 11th win, with 11 of his 15 points in the final quarter against the Celtics to go with 11 assists, two steals and three rebounds.
It was the most aggressive Simmons has been in a season where he has prioritised creating shots for the in-form Joel Embiid and recruited shooters Danny Green and Seth Curry.
And the performance came with a clip to his critics.
“I’m just focusing on winning and doing what I can for this team,” he said post-game.
“I don’t go on Instagram. I don’t go on Twitter, so I don’t see what people are saying.
“And I don’t give a f*** honestly.”
Across 14 games Simmons has averaged 12.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.2 assists, Saturday’s (AEST) effort only the second time he’s managed 15 or more points this season.
The victory took the 76ers to 7-0 when Simmons, Curry, Green, Embiid and Tobias Harris have started this season, Curry back in the line-up following a a seven-game absence because of a positive COVID-19 test.
He scored 15 points as Embiid (38 points, 11 rebounds and three assists) and Harris (23 points, eight rebounds and three assists) continued their dominant seasons.
Jaylen Brown had 42 points, nine rebounds and three assists for the Celtics.
Embiid made 14 of 15 from the free-throw line – a near-flawless retort after Smart claimed he “flails and gets the calls” after the All-Star centre went to the line 21 times in his 42-point game on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, San Antonio went down at home 122-117 to the Dallas Mavericks with Boomers guard Patty Mills posting 13 points, two rebounds and two assists for the Spurs.
The Toronto Raptors proved too strong at home for the Miami Heat winning 101-81, with Australian centre Aron Baynes spending 26 minutes on court for six rebounds, one assist and three points as he continued to find form after a slow start with the new outfit.
In other matches, the visiting Charlotte Hornets beat the Chicago Bulls 123-110, the Indiana Pacers edged out the Orlando Magic 120-118 in overtime, the Detroit Pistons lost by one at home to the Houston Rockets 103-102, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 125-113 while the Atlanta Hawks easily beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-98.