Simmons' 76ers Close In On Third Seed

Aussie rookie stars again

Simmons' 76ers Close In On Third Seed

Ben Simmons has shaken off illness to help the Philadelphia 76ers to a franchise-record 15th straight win, putting them on the verge of third seeding in the NBA's Eastern Conference playoffs.

The young Australian was in doubt before the game due to gastroenteritis but he scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and claimed six assists in a 121-113 away win over the Atlanta Hawks.

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He also picked up a technical in the third quarter for arguing all the way down the court about a call that didn't go his way.

JJ Redick led the scoring for Philadelphia with 28 points and Marco Belinelli added 20 points.

The 76ers can seal the No.3 seed ahead of LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers with a home win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday in their final regular season match.

The Sixers lead the Cavaliers by one game heading into the final day of the regular season, with the Cavaliers to host the New York Knicks in their last game.

The 76ers haven't lost since a 101-98 home defeat by the Indiana Pacers on March 13 and they're headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. 

They have maintained their latest winning streak without All-Star centre Joel Embiid for the past fortnight as he recovers from an eye socket fracture and he is expected back at sometime in the post-season. 

Just two years ago, the long-woeful 76ers won only 10 games all season.

"We all are greedy," said Brett Brown, the coach who was there for the bad times and now is getting to savour what has become one of the NBA's most compelling stories. 

"We want more. I want more. I tell my team that all the time. This is when the fun begins."

The match against the Bucks could be a first-round playoff preview. Milwaukee hold a 2-1 edge in the season series, with each team winning on their home court so far.

"We know it's a big game," Simmons said. "They are coming in to win also.

"Especially because it's the last regular-season game ... I want to come out and make a statement that we are ready."

AAP

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