Los Angeles (AFP) – Ben Simmons scored 16 points as the Philadelphia 76ers routed the Dallas Mavericks to extended their winning streak to 14 games in the Eastern Conference playoff race on Sunday.
Australian star Simmons finished with nine assists and seven rebounds as the Sixers cruised to a 109-97 victory to move one win clear of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the standings.
The Sixers and the Cavs are locked in a duel for the third seed spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, with Philadelphia now at 50-30 for the season, ahead of Cleveland, who are fourth with 49-31.
Philadelphia are now assured of at least a top-four finish in the East after Sunday’s victory at the Wells Fargo Center.
With the injured Joel Embiid close to a return, the Sixers will enter the postseason brimming with confidence after another impressive win.
Simmons was one of five Sixers players to make double figures, with JJ Redick leading the scoring for the home team with 18 points.
Harrison Barnes led the scoring for the Mavs with 21 points, with Dennis Smith Jr adding 20 points and Dwight Powell 13.
In other early games on Sunday, the Indiana Pacers are one game behind Cleveland after overpowering the Charlotte Hornets 123-117 on the road.
Domantis Sabonis led the scoring for the Pacers with 30 points from the bench, while Victor Oladipo had 27 points. The Pacers improved to 48-33 with the victory.
Elsewhere in the East, second-placed Boston suffered an upset 112-106 loss to bottom team Atlanta at the TD Garden.
It was a third defeat in four games for the Celtics, who are battling an injury crisis as they head into the playoffs.
The Celtics were rocked this week after it was confirmed star Kyrie Irving would miss the remainder of the season after complications from knee surgery.