PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Doc Rivers can’t fathom criticism of Ben Simmons, especially after the three-time All-Star became just the sixth player in NBA history to have at least 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a playoff game.
“Only in Philadelphia,” Rivers said Tuesday when asked about the critics. “If you guys don’t know the treasure you have by now, then shame on everyone because he’s been fantastic for us. He creates points every single night for us. When Ben was on the floor, we were really good.
“I’m amazed that people don’t see what he does. We’re so caught up in the amount of points he scored. … Does it matter if Ben had all 125? Would we be mad that Joel [Embiid] didn’t score? Who cares who scores as long as we’re scoring. … When Ben plays, we score more points.”
Simmons scored six points in Philadelphia’s 125-118 victory over Washington in Game 1 of their first-round series opener. He missed all six of his free throws and his shooting deficiencies sometimes overshadow his all-around game, including his impressive defense.
“He’s a big guy and he plays guard,” said Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who scored 33 points in Game 1. “It’s not like he’s a power forward or a center guarding me. He’s very mobile, agile, and he’s strong. So that propels him. And the fact that he wants to play defense. He’s a willing defender. You don’t always see that.”