Ben Simmons rejected claims he was not a peacemaker in the brawl between Philadelphia 76ers teammate Joel Embiid and Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns.
Embiid and Towns were hit with two-game suspensions without pay for their fight during Philadelphia’s 117-95 NBA win over Minnesota on Wednesday.
Sixers All-Star Embiid and Towns got tangled up in the third quarter and eventually exchanged blows before the benches cleared and the two needed to be separated before their ejections.
Simmons was seen on top of Towns during the fight with his arm around his throat, with the Timberwolves reportedly alleging the 76ers guard had been the aggressor.
“I don’t really have anything to say about it,” Simmons — who escaped punishment — told reporters when asked about the claims.
“My teammate and Karl went at it, I tried to grab them and separate them and get Karl to relax a little bit because I know Karl. People know me, they know I’m not that type of player so it is what it is.
“As a team, we have each other’s backs, no matter what, no matter what the situation is. We’re always going to have each other’s backs with whatever happens on the floor.
“But at the same time, we’re a physical team. We’re not coming out here trying to fight people but that at the same time, we’re a physical team.”
On the comradery of the team, Simmons added: “We’re close. We’re brothers. I think that’s huge for us, going to eventually playoffs and further down the track.
“I think right now where we’re at is a great place and everyone’s feeling comfortable and knows we all support each other.”
Brett Brown was asked about the incident and allegations directed at Simmons and the 76ers head coach replied: “I most definitely have thoughts.
“I’ve been advised to keep them to myself and I’m aware of (the Timberwolves’ accusation of Simmons). I understand what’s going on.”
“We intend on playing and feel that we do play the game in the spirits that it should be played,” Brown continued. “But this is Philadelphia and we play a certain way and playing sort of as a unit, as a team, covering each other is important in any case and I feel like some of that was achieved.”