Philadelphia 76ers rookie point guard Ben Simmons is struggling to score in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics. The Rookie of the Year frontrunner is only averaging 11.7 points and shooting 48.3 percent from the field through three games, thanks to tough defense by Boston.
Boston is taking a page out of the Miami Heat’s defensive playbook by closing off the passing lanes and sagging off of Simmons, daring him to shoot. Simmons finally did take a couple of jump shots in Game 3 but it was not enough to lift the Sixers to a victory.
One former player, who did not have an issue scoring was former Los Angeles Lakers’ great Kobe Bryant. Bryant was money in the playoffs and could always be depended on to make a clutch shot.
Kobe was asked about Simmons’ jump shot among other topics, on the Chris and Caron show on FOX Sports Radio on Sunday.
“Just aesthetically I would say build that thing anew (laughs). I don’t think the game came down to that though,” said Bryant to Chris Mannix and Caron Butler.
Bryant is right in that Simmons probably needs to switch up his form for more success, but that was not the deciding factor. The lack of execution by the Sixers late in the game cost them, which Bryant spoke about more in-depth.
“I think on a fundamental level, being able to get open off the ball is what did them in. They just tried to pop free for the ball, and in that situation you can’t do that. You got to put your body on your defender, hold them off and now you got to pop for the ball. Those are just basic, fundamental things, but those little fundamental things are what cost teams playoff series’ and eventual championships.”
Fundamentals. It is the thing that has Celtics up 3-0 on the verge of a second consecutive trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, while the Sixers are fighting for their playoff lives.
Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see if the Sixers can correct their mistakes in Game 4 to hopefully extend their season for one more game.