The Philadelphia 76ers were relying on star rookie Ben Simmons to provide something of substance in hopes of stealing Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Celtics in Boston Thursday evening.
In no way did that even come close to happening. Having already put himself in the record books multiple times in his first playoff action, Simmons put up the worst performance of his young career. The former No. 1 pick scored just one point while missing all four of his shots from the field in 31 minutes of action.
Ultimately, Philadelphia dropped the game by five points after leading by 20-plus in the second quarter. For their part, the Sixers were minus-23 with Simmons on the court.
It goes without saying that Simmons is unhappy with his performance. He’s also not looking to point fingers anywhere else.
“I think it was mainly what I did to myself,” Simmons told ESPN’s Ian Begley. “Mentally, I was thinking too much, overthinking the plays. Wasn’t just out there, flowing, playing the way that I play, which is free.”
After putting up an average of 18.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists in his first six playoff games, Simmons’ Game 2 struggles contributed the most to Philadelphia falling down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. Though, he’s not out here to give a ton of credit to the Celtics’ No. 1-ranked defense for his disastrous Game 2 performance.
“I think, obviously, (the Celtics) have a game plan, I know what their game plan is, and I’ve got to play my game,” Simmons continued.
Philadelphia now faces a must-win Game 3 at home Saturday afternoon. The onus is going to be on Simmons to up his game big time in this one.