Let’s go Posidelphia today. Some reverse psychology in the latest edition of the award-winning Friday Mount Rushmore column.
We could pile on Ben Simmons and continue to rip the guy, but the Sixers are still alive, yes? They can beat the Hawks twice. It’s an uphill climb, but it ain’t Kilimanjaro. It’s not Everest or even Mount Davis, which is the highest point in Pennsylvania, located in Bumble F near the Maryland border.
It’s doable, and a glimmer of hope remains if this team decides to pull heads out of rear ends and play to the level they are capable of. They ain’t dead yet.
Behold, the Mount Rushmore of Ben Simmons’ best playoff performances:
vs. Nets, Game 3, 2019 (first round)
Ah yes, the Jared Dudley criticism storyline.
This is what I wrote after the Sixers went out and blitzed the Nets on the road to take a 2-1 series lead in the opening round of the 2019 playoffs:
Ben Simmons heard Jared Dudley refer to him as an “average” half court player and responded with 31 points on 11-13 shooting while going 9-11 from the foul line and adding nine assists and four rebounds. He turned the ball over just three times last night.
They won by 16 points in this game. Ben was the game-high scorer and shot 81.8% from the foul line. It’s like bizarro world going back and watching the highlights from that one, but he was electric. Looked like he was shot out of a cannon.
vs. Wizards, Game 2, 2021 (first round)
Ben was criticized after a Game 1 performance in which he logged 15 rebounds and 15 assists, but only scored six points on 3-9 shooting while finishing 0-6 from the foul line.
He responded with 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists in Game 2, and would have finished with a triple double, but he was yanked at the end of the third quarter because the Sixers were blowing the Wizards out of the water.
Ben Simmons is lighting it up early in Game 2 against the Wizards! ⚡ pic.twitter.com/RdtDpVR87L
— ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) May 26, 2021
vs. Raptors, Game 6, 2019 (second round)
The Toronto series was highlighted by Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid, and the back-and-forth adjustments made by Nick Nurse and Brett Brown.
But Simmons was low-key excellent in Game 6. He scored 21 points on 9-13 shooting. He was a serviceable 3-6 from the line, grabbed eight rebounds (four on the offensive glass), tossed six assists, and finished +4 in the win.
We got aggressive and downhill Simmons in this game:
vs. Nets, Game 2, 2019 (first round)
Remember when Simmons and the Sixers were booed off the floor in the Game 1 loss to the Nets?
He responded with a Game 2 triple double, putting up 18, 10, and 12 while shooting 8-12 from the floor and not even logging 30 minutes. He was a +23.
Ben also played some tough defense on D’Angelo Russell in the third quarter, blanketing him with pressure and making life incredibly uncomfortable. Russell had zero third quarter points and finished 4-10 on 35 offensive possessions against Simmons overall.
Said Simmons after the Game 2 win, RE: the boos he received a few days earlier:
“I’ve got a lot of love for this city and the fans here. Every time I step on the floor I try and play as hard as I can. I was just showing that. The hustle I try and give each and every game is not only for my teammates, my family, it’s for the city.”
Honorable mention: vs. Hawks, Game 3 2021, vs. Heat, Game 3 2018, vs. Celtics, Game 4 2018