The foreign flavour is only getting stronger in the NBA.
Ben Simmons and his high-flying Philadelphia 76ers have crashed back to earth with a 113-103 loss to the Miami Heat in game two of their NBA playoff series.
The 76ers entered Monday’s game in Philadelphia on a 17-game winning streak and appeared set to rally from a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to win.
With Simmons pushing the ball and the 76ers’ shooters starting to hit their mark they cut the deficit to two with four minutes to go, but it was the Heat’s veteran Dwyane Wade who came off the bench, steadied Miami and hit clutch baskets.
The Heat’s victory levels the best-of-seven series 1-1.
Simmons flirted with another triple-double with 24 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
The 36-year-old Wade top-scored with 28 points.
The Heat game plan was to be more aggressive compared to their lopsided loss in game one on Saturday, with special attention and a rotation of players, including Wade, guarding Simmons.
Wade was impressed with the 21-year-old from Melbourne.
“That kid is not even a kid,” Wade said.
“He’s a basketball player, man.
“He does so many different things for his team.”
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said the Heat’s aggression was the deciding factor, particularly by pressuring Simmons when he brought the ball up the court.
“I thought the physicality of the game, I give them credit,” Brown said.
“They were bending us backwards.”