Ben Simmons is back, and back with a vengeance.
The Australian NBA star cast aside his subpar game earlier in the week to post his 30th career triple-double (10 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists) as Philadelphia defeated the Miami Heat 125-108 at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.
Simmons reached the milestone in just his 228th career game and became the third-fastest in NBA history - behind Oscar Robinson (75 games) and Magic Johnson (190) - to do so.
It was his second triple-double in nine days after recording the feat against the Charlotte Hornets on January 5.
The 24-year-old has thoroughly enjoyed playing for new head coach Doc Rivers, who took over from Brett Brown on October 3.
"I'm blessed. I get to play the game I love every day at the highest level in the world," Simmons told sixers.com.
"The relationship is growing with Doc, and so far, I've learned a lot ... (including) professionalism, how I carry myself.
"Doc keeps it real with me. He keeps it straight. He wants me to get better."
Shake Milton scored a season-high 31 points and Tobias Harris added 18 for the home side who also ousted the Heat two nights earlier.
The 76ers shot at 65 per cent and improved their season record to 9-4, second in the Eastern Conference and half a game behind the Boston Celtics.
In Denver, Nikola Jokic scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half to help the Nuggets overcome the Golden State Warriors 114-104.
Both sides are 6-6 in the Western Conference.
Jokic also had 14 rebounds and 10 assists for his 46th career triple-double while Will Barton and Jamal Murray each added 17 points for the hosts.
Steph Curry finished with 35 points on 14-of-23 shooting. He hit five three-pointers leaving him 15 shy from tying Reggie Miller (2,560) for second place on the league's career list. Ray Allen is first with 2,973.
Domantas Sabonis had 23 points and 15 rebounds to lead Indiana past the Trail Blazers 111-87.
Malcolm Brogdon added 25 points and seven assists for the Pacers (8-4) who snapped an 11-game losing streak in Portland.
Patty Mills' San Antonio went down 109-105 at home to Houston, who played their first match without eight-times All-Star James Harden after his move to the Brooklyn Nets.
Christian Wood had 27 points for the Rockets (4-6) while Keldon Johnson posted 29 points for the Spurs (6-6).
Mills had two rebounds, three assists and seven points in his 27 minutes on court.
Fellow Boomer Aron Baynes played only eight minutes for his rebound and two points in Toronto's 111-108 win over Charlotte in Florida.
Chris Boucher had a game-high 25 points for the Raptors (3-8) while Terry Rozier (22) was the chief contributor for the Hornets (6-7).
Australian Associated Press