Ben Simmons said it will take time to get back to his best and the Australian appears to be heading in the right direction, as did his Brooklyn side who claimed a 112-98 win in Toronto.
Simmons’ recovery from a back injury and mental health issues has seen him extend his time on the court and the numbers.
The Aussie played 32½ minutes, 18 seconds less than superstar Kevin Durant, and contributed 14 points, two rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks to help the Nets improve to a record from 9-10 Wednesday evening.
Kyrie Irving led the way against the Raptors (9-9), scoring 19 of 29 points in the third quarter.
“That’s what we want him to do,” Simmons said of Irving.
“Just be himself, have that confidence to go out and take those shots and be who he is. He’s an incredible player, an incredible teammate.”
Brooklyn has won three of four, including two of three since Irving returned from a suspension for tweeting a link to an anti-Semitic movie.
Nic Claxton had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Durant 12 points to rank 18th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Durant scored his 26,074th career point in the third quarter, passing Kevin Garnett (26,071).
In Oklahoma City, Aussie Josh Giddey had 12 points, four rebounds and six assists in the Thunder’s 131-126 overtime loss to Denver.
Nikola Jokic scored 39 points, Aaron Gordon added 30 and Bruce Brown had a triple-double (17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) for the Nuggets.
DeMar DeRozan’s 36 points and eight assists led Chicago to a 118-113 win at Milwaukee.
The Bulls started the week with a 6-10 record but have now beaten the NBA’s top two teams, ending Boston’s nine-game winning streak on Monday.
Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic each scored 18 points for the Bulls, while Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Bucks.
In Boston, Jayson Tatum had 37 points and 13 rebounds and Jaylen Brown scored 31 points to help the NBA’s best Celtics (14-4) rebound from a rare loss and beat Dallas 125-112.
Luka Doncic scored 42 points for the Mavericks, who had beaten the Celtics four times in a row.
But the Slovenian was unable to keep this one close with the hosts leading by as much as 27 points in the third quarter.
Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins scored a game-high 31 points in the Warriors’ 124-107 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Donovan Mitchell scored 34 points and Jarrett Allen had a season-high 24 points and 13 rebounds to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 114-96 victory over the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.
Other winners included the Atlanta Hawks, led by 35 points from Trae Young, Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons.
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