Ben Simmons does it all vs Wizards in Game Two
The Philadelphia 76ers are just too much for the Washington Wizards. Last night, the Sixers took a 2-0 lead against the eighth seeded Wizards with a 120-95 win that was essentially wire-to-wire for the number one seed in the East. Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris relentlessly attacked mismatches. Embiid finished shooting 8-12 from the floor (3-4 from three) with 22 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes of play. Harris added 9-for-13 shooting for 19 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes of play.
The story of Wednesday night however, was Ben Simmons.
After two and a half overly-critical days about Ben Simmons’ performance in game one, he was on an absolute mission last night. Simmons was solid, if not great in game one. He had 6 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists while playing some of the best defense I have ever witnessed. That wasn’t good enough for some people. The 6 point stat line sent Sixers and NBA basketball fans alike into an absolute uproar. You had our own local media talking about it while covering the Eagles at Training Camp.
For those of us who know, we expected this to happen and expected Ben Simmons to answer.
22 points. 9 rebounds. 8 assists. 2 steals. 1 block. 1 turnover. +18.
Simmons was aggressive from the jump. He finished the first quarter with 12 points, and five rounds, already eclipsing his own scoring total from game one. He scored off drives to the basket, post-ups, offensive rebounds, and lobs to the rim in transition. His 22 points at the end of the night were the most Simmons has scored in a game since March 23rd.
Yes, game one and game two were very different. No, that doesn’t mean we need the Ben Simmons from game two night in and night out to win a championship. The “why doesn’t he do this every night” narrative is coming like clockwork but in the end, the contrasting performances from Ben Simmons showcase the different ways he can impact a game, from elite court vision and controlling the pace of the game to his world class defense, Simmons is one of the most gifted players in the NBA.
The Wizards had a clear game plan entering last night. They wanted to double and triple team Embiid from the jump to make him uncomfortable. They wanted to force the Sixers to have Tobias Harris beat them once again. Ben Simmons, realizing this, went in full on attack mode and used his aggressive force to carry the offensive load for the Sixers.
The nature of Ben Simmons’ game brings on a million different discussions about what he does right compared to what he does wrong. The middle ground on those arguments doesn’t exist. People fail to realize how unique Ben Simmons is to the game of basketball. Simmons is a multi-dimensional player that can impact a game at every single angle. Some games, it will be facilitating the basketball and finding open teammates. Other games it will be defensively and on the boards. You’ll see games where Simmons will attack opposing defenses relentlessly and score points. Any way you want to look at it, Simmons is giving the Sixers exactly what’s needed night in and night out.
On a special night last night, it was a little bit of everything.
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Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY SPORTS