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Eyes on Ben Simmons in Celtics/Sixers rematch tonight


I just like to get the other side of the story. The Philadelphia 76'ers beat the Celtics 117-109 on Wednesday night, and a rematch comes this evening. A Philadelphia sports writer feels that the Wednesday contest was Philly's first game versus a legitimate Title contender, and he wasn't exactly enthralled with the win or the structure of his home team (per Philadelphia Inquirer's David Murphy):

In an ideal world, the game that unfolded in front of his eyes will be the last of its kind, a showdown between two championship aspirants that revealed almost nothing about the future that awaits either team. In the visiting corner, the Boston Celtics, minus their best player. In the home corner, the Sixers, playing a seventh straight game without their full starting lineup.

Murphy agrees with most of us in Boston that the Wednesday game, and outcome, was not representative of what CAN occur with both teams having full active rosters. One region of concern for Philadelphia is the status of Ben Simmons.

I suppose there is some possible world where Ben Simmons magically transforms into the sort of dominant downhill scorer that the Sixers need. But Wednesday’s 117-109 win marked another day in which that world remained undiscovered.

Ben scored 11 points on 2-of-5 from the field, along with the usual zero 3-pointers attempted. It gets worse.

Simmons entered Wednesday night’s game attempting fewer shots, and making fewer of them, than even his lackluster career baselines. At 12.3 points per game, his scoring average is 25% lower than the marks he’s posted in any of his three previous seasons. Despite the relentless focus on his shooting outside of the paint, his biggest shortcoming remains his finishing ability around the basket.

It continues:

During a first quarter in which Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris combined to score 22 of the Sixers’ first 25 points, Simmons had a couple of hard, aggressive drives result in weak, off-balance misses. In the third quarter, he picked up his fifth personal foul after a backdoor cut and a full head of steam resulted in him bouncing off Jaylen Brown. Despite the questionable call, it was another trip to the rim where he looked like a player punching below his weight.

So tonight comes the rematch. Jayson Tatum remains out of action, so the final result has limited meaning. But a lot of eyes are on Ben Simmons and how he performs. The 76'ers seem to know who they are - with the lone exception of Ben Simmons.


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