Ben Simmons and Kawhi Leonard.
Ben Simmons and Kawhi Leonard.

Simmons: Bring on Kawhi in game four

Ben Simmons has declared he is comfortable with the unenviable task of guarding Kawhi Leonard in Monday's (AEST) eastern conference NBA semi-final between Philadelphia and Toronto.

Rising Aussie star Simmons is acutely aware of the impact Raptors guard Leonard has had against his 76ers team so far this series and ability to score seemingly at will.

But with home court advantage in game four and the chance to seize a commanding 3-1 lead in the best of seven series, Simmons said he was looking forward to the challenge.

"For me, I love taking that challenge on and having that role," he said.

"So I will try and make it tough for him."

Raptors star Leonard has torched the Sixers with scores of 33, 35 and 45 points in the first three games of the eastern conference semis.

Simmons is coming off a 10-point, seven-assist, seven-rebound game three which was sound but not spectacular by his own lofty standards.

But Simmons' defence has been strong despite Leonard's influence, and his impact will again be key at both ends of the court today.

The Melbourne born and bred guard-forward said he was not frustrated Leonard was hitting shots from all parts of the court despite his best efforts in defence.

"Its Kawhi - he's going to make great shots, just like any great player," he said.

"You've just got to make it tough and not give him any easy looks."

Asked about a potential ankle injury he was carrying, Simmons said: "we've got another game to win, so I'm not really worried about it."

Should the Sixers hold home court advantage today, they head to Toronto with the opportunity to book a conference finals berth on Tuesday.

But Simmons said his team was taking nothing for granted.

"We just have to be ready," he said.

News Corp Australia


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