Sixers go into full detail on Ben Simmons’ importance after Blazers loss

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Ky Carlin
·3 min read
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The Philadelphia 76ers had to go to battle with the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night without their star player in Ben Simmons after he was a late scratch with left calf tightness. All night long, the Sixers felt not having him on the floor in a 121-105 loss at home.

Philadelphia shot just 7-for-27 from deep, they started 0-for-12, and they had a tough time stopping Portland on the other end despite them missing Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic.

“I thought we missed Ben’s presence all over the floor,” said coach Doc Rivers. “That’s the point I try to make to you guys when you talk about Ben not making 3s. I keep trying to tell everyone, Ben’s value is so much more than what you guys are talking about.”

The Sixers still had superstar big man Joel Embiid, but that was it. The big fella cannot do his job and Simmons’ and that was where they missed the versatile star guard out of LSU. Simmons would have taken on the challenge of defending Blazers star Carmelo Anthony and stop him from getting easy looks for the 22 points he scored.

“It was very obvious,” said Embiid. “You look at the way Portland played, they were hunting our mismatches, especially different guys guarding Melo or creating actions out of it. That made us react a few times and they got a bunch of 3s out of that. That’s where you miss them a lot because when he’s on the floor defensively, especially with the guard play that Portland had tonight.”

Simmons not only would have helped Philadelphia on the defensive end, but offensively, he would have helped them get into a groove. He is so good at creating shots for others and when he isn’t out there, they don’t have a guy who can do what he can.

“How many times do we get the ball off a rebound and push it up, getting into the paint, leading to 3, we couldn’t get to the paint tonight, offensively,” Rivers added. “That’s what Ben does. Ben’s ability leads us to take 3s. He doesn’t necessarily take them, he creates them. I think he leads the league in that category, as a matter of fact.”

Simmons is the definition of a player who makes his teammates better. The Sixers have to make sure he is healthy going forward. His stats on paper don’t show it, but he is every bit an All-Star and one of the top players in the league. He makes such a huge difference for them.

“I think it shows that is a huge part of what we’re doing on each end,” said Matisse Thybulle. “When we don’t have Jo, we don’t have Ben, like these guys demand so much attention on the offensive end when they got the ball, and it makes everyone else’s job out there a lot easier. Without him, it definitely shows, and then defensively, we all know he can do. We felt that as well.”

Philadelphia has to hope that he is ready to go on Saturday because they will need him against one of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden when they take on the Brooklyn Nets at home.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Sacramento
+155+5O 237.5
Portland
-189-5U 237.5