It was a critical Game 3 on Thursday night at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. For the first time in the series, the Philadelphia 76ers were set to become the visitors. The series was tied up, 1-1 and the Sixers had yet to take the lead despite being the favorites to win the seven-game series. After a disappointing Game 1, it seemed like Brooklyn had the Sixers in the palm of their hands. That was until the Sixers stepped up and dominated their opponent in Game 2, especially with the help from Ben Simmons.

Although Simmons dropped a triple-double in his second game after getting massively criticized for his performance in the postseason opener, nobody was convinced that he was still a solid playoff performer. According to a controversial report that surfaced earlier in the week, Sixers' General Manager, Elton Brand considered trading Simmons at one point because he performs well in the regular season, but fails to meet expectations in the playoffs.

Then, there was the entertaining back and forth battle with Nets' veteran, Jared Dudley this week. Dudley, who stated before Game 1 that Brooklyn wouldn't pay much attention to Simmons because he won't shoot outside of his limited range wouldn't put a stop to his criticism even after Simmons' solid Game 2 performance. He called Simmons 'great in transition,' but when it comes to half-court offense, he's just 'average.'

How did Ben respond to that criticism? "It's coming from Jared Dudley. Come on," Simmons said with a smirk while addressing the situation. As expected, Simmons' comments struck a nerve in Brooklyn. Nets fans tried to raise every issue possible issue for Simmons on Thursday in hopes that he would choke. From 'Wanted: Missing Jumpshot' posters with Simmons' face on it outside of the arena, to raining down with boo's every time Simmons touched the ball, Brooklyn fans did all they could to try and distract the Sixers' guard from proving Dudley wrong, and they failed.

Ben Simmons took all of that negative energy from the past week and went off. He led the Sixers to another dominating victory with a final score of 131-115. Simmons dropped a game-high of 31 points as the Sixers advanced to 2-1 with the series' lead. Will that be the end of Simmons' controversy with Dudley? So far, the Nets' veteran hasn't said much about it, but the Sixers star guard is finished with it all. Simmons made it clear that he doesn't have the energy for all that. He will keep the small talk off social media and just focus on playing the game.

Follow Justin on Twitter: @JGrasso_

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