NBA: Simmons shoots Sixers past Nets, Durant fired up as Warriors rout Clippers

Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons reacts to a foul call in the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets during the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 18, 2019.
Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons reacts to a foul call in the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets during the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 18, 2019.PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/AFP

(REUTERS, AFP) - Ben Simmons scored a playoff-career-high 31 points and handed out nine assists to lead the visiting Philadelphia 76ers past the Brooklyn Nets 131-115 on Thursday (April 18) in New York for a 2-1 lead in their NBA Eastern Conference opening-round play-off series.

The 22-year-old Australian, whose wayward shooting was the subject of a "Missing" poster outside of Barclays Centre pre-game, made 11 of 13 attempts from the field and 9 of 11 from the foul line.

Tobias Harris also scored a playoff-career-high, adding 29 points to go along with 16 rebounds, and J.J. Redick added 26 points for Philadelphia.

Sixers centre Joel Embiid was scratched before the game owing to left knee soreness. Greg Monroe, who signed late in the regular season, received the emergency start in place of Embiid and contributed nine points and 13 boards.

Meanwhile, Kevin Durant scored 38 points as the Golden State Warriors made sure they did not blow another big lead by routing the Los Angeles Clippers 132-105 in Game 3 of their play-off series.

The Warriors ensured there was no repeat of Game 2, where they squandered a 31-point lead in the second half, allowing the Clippers to engineer the biggest comeback in NBA play-off history.

Golden State compiled another huge lead at almost the identical part of Thursday's game by taking a 88-57 lead with 7:10 left in the third quarter.

Durant made sure the outcome was different this time. He finished 14-for-23 from the floor and was just five points shy of his play-off career high despite playing only 29 minutes.

"He was aggressive from the start at both ends," said Golden State coach Steve Kerr. "He attacked. He showed everybody who Kevin Durant is."

After taking just 24 shots and totalling 44 points in the first two games of the series, Durant came out blazing in Game 3, hitting his first six shots. "The coach made some subtle changes. Other than that everybody stuck to the game plan," he said.

Now down 2-1, the Clippers also will host Game 4 on Sunday in the best-of-seven series.

Stephen Curry, who battled foul trouble most of the night, supported Durant with 21 points for the Warriors.

Lou Williams, who led the greatest comeback in play-off history with 36 points in Game 2, was held to just 16 points.

Elsewhere, Derrick White poured in a career-high 36 points on 15-of-21 shooting to lift San Antonio to a win over visiting Denver in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round play-off series.

San Antonio, the seventh seeds in the West, grabbed a 2-1 lead. They led just 89-87 in the first minute of the fourth quarter before they pulled away, forging a 19-4 run that was capped by a White three-pointer with 5:57 left that gave them a 108-91 advantage.

DeMar DeRozan added 25 points, 21 of those in the second half, while LaMarcus Aldridge contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs. Nikola Jokic paced Denver with 22 points, and Malik Beasley added 20.