MIAMI: Australian Ben Simmons became the first rookie since 1980 with a triple double in an NBA playoff game, helping spark the Philadelphia 76ers over Miami 106-102 on Saturday.
Simmons scored 17 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and passed off 10 assists while J.J. Redick had 24 points to lead seven double-digit scorers for the Sixers, who seized a 3-1 edge over the Heat in their best-of-seven opening round series.
Simmons became the first rookie since Magic Johnson to manage a triple double in a playoff game and at 21 is the third-youngest to accomplish the feat after Johnson and Cleveland’s LeBron James.
He’s also the first 76er with a playoff triple double since Charles Barkley in 1991.
And it came in a game where he was involved in a second-period scuffle.
After Philadelphia’s Robert Covington inflicted a hard foul upon Miami’s Goran Dragic, the Heat’s James Johnson took issue and shoved Covington, which prompted Simmons to confront Johnson as coaches and players entered to contain the melee.
Simmons received a personal foul for his trouble while Covington and Johnson were hit with technical fouls.
“I’m shocked that we won this game,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “We really didn’t have a right to win the game.”
Joel Embiid, a 7-foot Cameroonian center, added 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots for the 76ers in his second game back after an orbital bone fracture around his left eye. He missed the first two games of the series but returned wearing a protective facial mask.
Dwyane Wade came off the Miami bench to score a game-high 25 points, but the Heat face elimination in game five Tuesday at Philadelphia.
Elsewhere, Anthony Davis delivered a franchise playoff-record 47 points as the New Orleans Pelicans wrapped up a four-game playoff sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers with a 131-123 win.
Jrue Holiday, who finished with 41 points, nailed an 18-foot pull-up jumper that gave the Pelicans a six-point lead with 40 seconds remaining in the win.
Rajon Rondo added 16 assists and Davis also had 11 rebounds and three blocks for New Orleans.
The Pelicans upset of the Trail Blazers moves them into the second round for only the second time since the NBA returned to the city 16 years ago.
C.J. McCollum led Portland with 38 points. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 27, Damian Lillard added 18 points and Jusuf Nurkic had 18 points and 11 rebounds.