Philadelphia Sixers star guard Ben Simmons had a monster game to help his team take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.
Nets fans were giving it to Ben Simmons hard. A photo circulated on Twitter ahead of Game 3 that showed a mock missing person poster on a post outside Barclays Center.
Simmons’ outside shooting has always been seen as a weakness in his game and the poster also says under identifying characteristics “just average,” which is a reference to Jared Dudley’s comments about Simmons’ ability in the half court at media availability ahead of Game 3:
“Ben Simmons is a great player in transition. And once you get him into half court, he’s average.”
Simmons is great when he’s close to the basket but his jumper is inconsistent at best and he’s a total non-threat from downtown, as he’ yet to make a 3-pointer in 173 games since entering the NBA.
Dudley’s words have some truth in them and he has every right to give an assessment of an opponent but it’s hard to not see it as a personal shot. Dudley’s comments didn’t seem to bother Simmons but he played with a chip on his shoulder in Game 3.
Nets fans booed Simmons every time he touched the ball and their trolling ways, which have been famous for years, were evident ahead of Game 3.
If the “Missing” Ben Simmons’ Jumper poster looks familiar it’s because Nets fans did the same to Deron Williams when he played for them five years ago.
Simmons got the last laugh with 31 points on 11 of 13 shooting with nine assists, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 38 minutes to lead the Sixers to a 131-115 win. Joel Embiid missed the game with left knee soreness but Simmons came up big and his team regained home court advantage.
After the game Dudley said it really wasn’t supposed to be a back and forth with Simmons.
“If you guys look at the whole quote it’s me basically justifying his game and what you want to do. Would you rather guard him full court going 100 miles per hour? Or, would you rather guard him in the half court? I feel real confident when I’m in there guarding against him, but you’ve got to give him credit. He played phenomenal. The whole team played phenomenal. They deserved this win.”
“I don’t really have energy for it,” Simmons said of the trash talk with Dudley following the game. “Honestly, it’s done. People are going to say what they want to say. It is what it is. I’ve just got to play.”
In Game 3, Simmons silenced those who feel he’s just average in the half court by shooting 9-for-11 in the half court and 2-for-2 in transition, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Simmons also had four assists in the half court.