SIXERS LOST, NO JOJO, SO BENCH BENNY? DOC RIVERS FLIPS OUT!

“You guys keep this Ben Simmons narrative alive, which to me is freakin’ insane how good this guy is, and all the things he does. Ben is not a 40-point guy. That’s not what he does. He does other things for the team, and I just don’t understand why that’s not sinking in in our city.”

By Jerry Wein

With Joel Embiid out after the first quarter, Ben Simmons was expected to take up the slack.

But he had foul trouble all evening; the team shot 31.6 percent from three-point range and conceded 21 fast-break points.

Simmons’ foul shooting came up in coach Doc Rivers’ session with reporters following a 122-114 Game 4 loss to the Wizards.

Click to watch.

Simmons made 5 of 11 free throws, putting him at 5 for 20 in the series. Washington intentionally sent him to the foul line late in the game, and he converted 4 of 8 attempts in the final 2:47.

Rivers didn’t think that was the primary cause of the Sixers’ loss.

“Listen, analytically if you split all those free throws, you’ll take a point per possession,” he said. “He did that. I had no issues with it. Obviously we would’ve loved if he made them both, but I didn’t think that changed the game at all for us.

“I was fine with it. If he had missed them both, then that would be something. Overall, I was fine with it. Obviously that’s what they’re going to do. That’s what they should do, and we’re fine with that.”

Rivers said he did not consider removing Simmons from the game and seemed to find the notion ludicrous.

“I’m going to pass on that one,” Rivers said. “He’s pretty good, so I’ll pass on that suggestion.”

“You guys keep this Ben Simmons narrative alive, which to me is freaking insane — how good this guy is and all the things he does,” Rivers said. “Ben is not a 40-point guy. That’s not what he does. He does other things for your team, and I just don’t understand why that’s not sinking in in our city. Everybody on the team doesn’t have to be a scorer to help the team.

“Ben scores, but Ben creates scoring for us. That’s what he does. If I’m Ben, at some point I’d get tired of it. I just would, because he’s just too good and he does so many good things for this basketball team. And I keep saying, celebrate him. Celebrate all the stuff he does well. We don’t do that enough.”

In 25 minutes, Simmons had 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the floor, 12 rebounds and three assists. His series averages are 13.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.8 turnovers.

“I was a little passive at certain times,” he said. “But, at the same time, I was trying to get great looks for my teammates. Furkan (Korkmaz) came in and knocked down a quick one, got us back in the game. And then he had another one at the top of the key, missed that. But we got some good looks.”

Danny Green wasn’t surprised by the intentional fouls. Like Rivers, he didn’t see Simmons’ missed free throws as why the Sixers will need to play a Game 5 on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

“I thought it was interesting,” Green said. “Obviously they’re not stupid. They’ve looked at film, they’ve watched, they’ve seen numbers, so they know he wasn’t shooting that well from the free-throw line for the series. He made five tonight, which I’m cool with. Obviously he’s going to be more critical on himself than anybody else. He’s going to be in the gym making sure that he gets his rhythm back. It’s more of a mental thing than anything for him.

“But that’s not why we lost the game. It wasn’t free throws, it wasn’t the referees. It was us not executing the way we know we should and the way we could down the stretch.”

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