Moore: Ben Simmons asserts himself in Game 2 win

The Sixers’ point guard was aggressive from the start, finishing with a triple-double in a lopsided victory over the Nets.

PHILADELPHIA – Ben Simmons insisted he would be much more aggressive in Game 2 than he had been during a relatively passive performance in the series opener.

On Monday night, he proved to be a man of his word.

Simmons attacked the basket on the 76ers’ first possession, setting the tone Brett Brown was hoping for in as close to a must-win as a playoff Game 2 can be.

Simmons was as responsible as anybody for the Sixers’ 145-123 victory over the Nets at the Wells Fargo Center.

After scoring just seven points on 4-for-9 shooting and only handing out three assists in the opener, Simmons had 16 points and six assists by halftime en route to triple-double with 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. He ended up hitting 8 of 12 field goal attempts.

“I was just trying to be me, be aggressive, find my guys and just play the right way,” Simmons said.

Brown said the Philly fans would see a different Simmons in Game 2. He was right.

“For him to respond to that the way he did – he was extremely aggressive,” Brown said.

“He’s the point guard,” said star center Joel Embiid. “When you see your teammate play with that type of energy, it lifts you up and makes you want to play that way. He was fantastic.”

Brown utilized more sets with Simmons in the low post, especially early, than he did in Game 1.

But the biggest factor was Simmons being in attack mode instead of looking to pass when he got into the lane the way he did in Game 1.

The 6-foot-10 Simmons went to the rim and relied on his array of half-hook shots and layups Monday. His size advantage and quickness were too much for the numerous defenders Nets coach Kenny Atkinson tried on Simmons.

“I thought Ben was excellent,” Atkinson said. “He really picked it up. His athleticism and size and activity caused us a lot of problems.”

The Sixers led by just one point (65-64) at halftime, but broke the game open with a 21-2 run to start the third quarter. Simmons had a pair of assists to Joel Embiid for baskets to begin the stretch and closed it out with a steal and breakaway dunk for a 21-point advantage. After the dunk, Simmons cupped his hand to his ear Allen Iverson-style as the crowd, which had booed him and the Sixers during the subpar showing in Game 1, cheered.

“I was thinking about the boos from last game (on that play),” said a smiling Simmons.

At the defensive end, Simmons held all-star guard/high school teammate D’Angelo Russell, who scored 26 points in the opener, scoreless in the third period.

“I thought his defensive effort on D’Angelo was spectacular,” Brown said.

The Sixers scored an astounding 51 points in the third period – tying an NBA playoff record – to the Nets’ 23, putting them on top by 29 heading into …read more

Source:: Daily times


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