By Art Beitchman
With Joel Embiid out of action after finger surgery, the 76ers desperately needed their other superstar to step up and carry the team for a couple weeks.
That’s exactly what Ben Simmons did. Even playing the center position for stretches of court time, playing over 40 minutes, he did all of that for the first time as a 76er!
One of those monster games came against the Brooklyn Nets on January 20. Simmons played his best game as a pro, scoring 34 points, dishing 12 assists, grabbing 12 rebounds in a 117-111 victory at The Barclay Center, signature game for the sometimes maligned player.
Five days later versus the LA Lakers at home, Simmons went off again for 28 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, guarding superstar Lebron James for minutes of the game, slowing up him with sticky on ball defense which he has also stepped up the last few weeks.
With Simmons sudden scoring prowess on display, he’s also getting to the line more and converting his free throws at a 70% plus clip the last handful of games, just what the Sixers need from their rampaging star point guard.
Embiid made his reappearance the other night versus the Golden State Warriors in a win. Now Joel and Ben need to find a nice balance playing together as they take the show on the road for a four gamer with the Bucks and Celtics on the schedule, they clearly want to stack some wins to improve playoff seeding as the playoffs approach in April, a more productive Ben Simmons can only help them rise in the Eastern Conference standings.