Simmons issues ominous warning to NBA foes

Australian Ben Simmons was one assist short of a triple-double in Philadelphia's 102-97 scrimmage loss to Oklahoma City.

BEN SIMMONS.
BEN SIMMONS. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Ben Simmons has delivered an ominous warning to rivals with another impressive performance for the Philadelphia 76ers ahead this week's NBA season restart.

The Australian All-Star fell one assist short of a triple-double despite playing just 26 minutes in a 102-97 scrimmage loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday in Orlando, Florida.

Simmons says he has plenty of space to improve as the 76ers chase a championship when their season resumes against the Indiana Pacers on August 1.

"I feel like the past two games I have been doing well," Simmons told reporters.

"I can always do better."

Simmons had 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists against the Thunder.

The 24-year-old, who has been under pressure to become an outside offensive threat, did not attempt a three-pointer.

The 76ers were without All-Star centre Joel Embiid, but still dominated the Thunder when Simmons was on the court.

Philadelphia led 81-70 at the end of the third quarter.

The team collapsed when coach Brett Brown sat Simmons for the final period.

Simmons' haul followed his nine points, nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals in 22 minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

The Memphis scrimmage was Simmons' first competitive game since a back injury on February 22 initially kept him out before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the season on March 11.

"There's a lot I need to work on and improve, but overall I'm just getting that flow back and feeling really good," Simmons said.

Embiid, the 76ers' other key to a championship, was rested after suffering tightness in his right calf.

Brown expects Embiid to be fit for the season restart.

The 76ers play a final scrimmage against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.

The Thunder's Kiwi centre Steven Adams had a strong game with 11 points and nine rebounds.