After an absolutely dreadful performance in Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets, one in which he scored just nine points, dished out only three assists and was generally a sieve on defense, Ben Simmons flipped the switch for Game 2. Simmons continually burrowed his way into the lane en route to a 18-12-10 triple-double, helping the 76ers drop 145 points and even their series with the Nets.
Ahead of Thursday’s pivotal Game 3, Nets guard Jared Dudley shared his feelings on how his team, and perhaps much of the NBA, views Simmons, calling him “great” in transition but “average” when the 76ers are forced to set up their offense in the halfcourt. On Thursday morning, Simmons responded.
“It’s coming from Jared Dudley,” Simmons said with a smirk.
Simmons has a point. Dudley didn’t play in Game 2 due to injury, and scored just four points in 28 minutes in Game 1. But perhaps Simmons feeling the need to respond at all means that Dudley’s comments struck some sort of nerve in him. After all, it was the Celtics packing of the paint and daring Simmons to shoot in last year’s playoffs that gave Simmons fits, including a Game 2 performance in which he scored exactly one point.
The book seems to be out on Simmons’ game. It’s up to him to change the narrative.