PHILADELPHIA — That is what Jacque Vaughn means when he says Ben Simmons must play a complete recreation with drive.
Not simply intermittent spurts of aggression when he so chooses.
Simmons went scoreless within the first half of the Nets’ 137-133 loss to the Sixers in his first recreation in opposition to Joel Embiid since final season’s blockbuster James Harden commerce on the Wells Fargo Middle on Wednesday. He missed his solely shot try and refused to have a look at the rim, usually passing out of conditions the place most different gamers would shoot.
After which a change flipped.
Simmons determined to hunt his personal shot. First, a turnaround hook shot over P.J. Tucker. Then one other try over Tucker that he left quick. Then a pair of free throws when he was fouled on a layup try. Adopted by a layup below the rim, after which an uncontested alley-oop end.
Simmons completed the third quarter driving coast-to-coast for an and-one layup with 0.7 seconds left on the clock. After going scoreless with only one shot try within the first half, Simmons scored 10 factors within the third quarter alone.
After which one other change flipped, this time from Vaughn, who pulled Simmons from the sport in favor of sharpshooter Joe Harris on the 8:57 mark of the fourth quarter. When Harris fouled out on the 5:58 mark, Vaughn subbed in Royce O’Neale, who had a very poor capturing evening, left in Yuta Watanabe, and continued to depart Simmons on the bench for the sport’s most crucial stretch.
Simmons completed with 12 factors, 5 rebounds and 5 assists on five-of-seven capturing from the sector. After a irritating and complicated first half, all however two of his factors got here within the third quarter. Seth Curry scored a game-high 32 factors in his return to Philly. Kyrie Irving put up 30 factors and 10 assists on 9-of-15 capturing from the sector. Nic Claxton added 25 factors, 11 rebounds and two blocks in yet one more spectacular efficiency for the rising star heart. Watanabe added 11 factors off the bench and performed each crunch-time minute.
Simmons didn’t, though it was his very shift in willingness to attain that helped energy the Nets again from down 17 factors.
By the point Simmons determined to have a look at the rim, it was too little, too late.
The one time 76ers followers didn’t boo their former star playmaker was once they took the time as a collective unit to chortle at him.
It’s an unlucky reality, and the elephant within the room for what has been a promising Nets season.
Forty-seven video games in, the Nets proceed to have a Simmons downside: Their third highest-paid participant is inconsistent together with his efforts to attain the ball, and his struggles stagnate, if not cripple a free-flowing Nets offense.
The silver lining, in fact, is that the Nets nearly stole a victory in opposition to a totally wholesome 76ers crew, and so they did so with out Kevin Durant, whose MCL sprain will likely be reevaluated in one other two weeks’ time.
The Nets are very clearly a distinct crew when Durant is on the ground. The problem is that Simmons stays the identical — inconsistent — and the Nets don’t know what they’ll get from him on a nightly foundation.