No Ben Simmons Proves to be Big Issue for Sixers in Loss to Blazers
Sixers point guard Ben Simmons was held out of Thursday nights game against Portland with left calf tightness.
It appeared the rest of the team sat out with him.
Without Simmons, the Sixers offense and defense struggled.
"I thought we missed his presence all over the floor," said Sixers head coach Doc Rivers. That's the point I try to make to you guys (the media) when we talk about Ben not taking three's. Ben's value is so much more than what you guys are talking about and you can see it early on."
The offense missed their first 12 3-point attempts, while Portland connected on almost 42% of their triples for the game.
The Sixers often was often standing around, waiting for Joel Embiid to generate their offense.
"We were a bad defensive team tonight, but I thought we were worse offensively," said Rivers. "I thought our offense contributed to a lot of our bad defense."
Without Simmons ability to both penetrate the lane and find open shooters, the Sixers were left standing around, and the usually open-looks just weren't there for most of the night, leaving many flat-footed and watching Embiid.
"I thought it was our inability to move the ball offensively that created a lot of their offense," Rivers added.
While Simmons is often critiqued for his lack of offense or scoring, what can't be denied is his ability to see the floor, find the open man, and set-up open looks on the offensive end of the floor. Simmons often can penetrate the lane, draw double-teams and find the open man for open looks.
On defense, Simmons often draws the opposing teams top player, but will move around depending on who has the hot hand. His size, length and ability to match up with players of all sizes makes him a valuable piece to the Sixers defensive puzzle.
"He spearheads out defense," explained Rivers. "The bottom line though, we still need to be a decent defense when Ben is not on the floor."
In his place the Rivers went with Furkan Korkmaz over Shake Milton and Tyrese Maxey and while that trio combined for 40 points, they combined to be a -27, giving up points on the defensive end of the floor.
While Simmons has his flaws, he is an important piece to the Sixers, and that was on display on Thursday against a very shorthanded Blazers team.
He should be back and ready to play Saturday against Brooklyn.
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