Simmons then stole a last-second desperation pass from the Pacers as time expired, and the Sixers improved their undefeated start to the season at home to 9-0.
Simmons finished with 15 points, six rebounds, 13 assists and four steals, while Embiid led the team with 32 points and 11 rebounds.
Simmons told broadcaster NBC Philadelphia he wanted to please the home crowd and remain undefeated at home.
“I love playing defence, I feel a sense of pride and for me, especially being part of the Sixers and playing in Philadelphia, guys want to see you play hard,” Simmons said.
“We don’t want to lose here. We are scared to lose in front of them.”
Sixers and now Australian Boomers coach Brett Brown has called for Simmons to be considered for NBA All-Defensive team selection, and said post-game those late steals showed why.
“The plays that he can make from an athletic standpoint and the plays he can make from a physical standpoint [late] in the game, are just elite,” Brown said.
“You hear me cheerlead the cause of him being on an NBA All-Defensive team, and it’s examples like that [late steal] that make it a no-brainer.”
The Sixers faced off with long-time teammate TJ McConnell, who took up a free agent deal with the Pacers this past off-season, and Simmons had a hug and a joke with McConnell post game.
“TJ gave effort every night, I had to give it back tonight,” Simmons said.
“It’s weird [seeing him in Pacers colours]. So many people here love him. He’s been here since I first was here. I have a lot of love for him.”
The Sixers host Joe Ingles, Dante Exum and the Utah Jazz in Philadelphia on Tuesday at 11am AEDT.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.