Simmons, Embiid Answer the Bell, Help Send Series to Game 7
The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Toronto Raptors, 112-101, in Game 6 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Semifinals to even the series at 3-3 and force a Game 7.
After being criticized heavily after their lackluster performances in game 5, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were keys to their Game 6 victory. Simmons put up a stat line of 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists and zero turnovers in 34 minutes of play. Meanwhile, Embiid recorded 17 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks in 25 minutes of play, finishing the game as +40, becoming just the 12th player in the last 19 seasons to a post +40-or-better in a playoff game.
Jimmy Butler had a tremendous effort as well, leading the way with 25 points, but in the end it was Simmons who was the story.
"He was our bell ringer tonight," said Sixers head coach Brett Brown, an honor given to the player of the game inside the teams locker room.
"I thought Mike Scott off the bench was outstanding. I mean, it’s stupid when you look at Joel [Embiid]’s +/-, to be a +40 is hard to do. And then you see Jimmy Butler’s performance, and so for Ben to be our bell ringer with some of those other performances sort of confirms what I think he did tonight. His no turnovers, his attack mode—pick 'em—his four offensive rebounds, his push and pace on missed shots, especially. All those things were what made him be an NBA All-Star at 22 years old. I thought he was excellent tonight and we needed it all."]
The 22-year old Aussie pushed the pace and was aggressive right from the start of the game, bringing an entirely different level of energy and aggression that simply wasn't there in Tuesday nights loss in Toronto.
"It’s more so for me, just going out there and doing everything I can to win and the end result’s going to be the end result," Simmons explained. "Everyone had that same mentality. I think it’s just going out there, playing hard and not regretting anything."
"I really loved his no turnovers and I really loved his offensive rebounds," Brown added. "I thought those two things, amongst all those comments I just made, are what stood out the most. It’s the evolution of a 22-year-old, 6-10 point guard [who] used to be a college four man."
While the stars shined the brightest, they got a total team effort, out-rebounding the Raptors, 52-34 and put all five starters in double figures setting up an epic game 7 in Toronto on Sunday.