Doc Rivers Says 76ers Will Keep Ben Simmons on Court Despite Free-Throw Struggles

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIJune 1, 2021

Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Doc Rivers wants everyone to cut Ben Simmons some slack.

The Philadelphia 76ers head coach wasn't having it after his team lost to the Washington Wizards, 122-114, on Monday night, when they could have clinched their first playoff sweep in 36 years. 

Simmons finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds but was just 5-of-11 from the free-throw line in the loss.

John Clark @JClarkNBCS

“Ben, we are going to keep him on the floor. Unless you guys want us to bench him the whole game, if anybody wants us to do that, just let me know, and then I’ll know you don’t know basketball”<br><br> pic.twitter.com/nhMcNjhOXE

The Wizards seemed to take advantage of Simmons' shortcoming from the line, as the star entered the night 0-for-9 from the free throw line so far in the series. 

Simmons shot 61.3 percent from the line during the regular season, so his struggles in this series aren't a new problem.

“You guys keep this Ben Simmons narrative alive, which to me is freaking insane,” Rivers said. “Ben creates scoring for us. That's what he does. If I'm Ben at some point, I'd get tired of it. I just would. Because he's just too good, and does so many good things for this basketball team."

Tobias Harris led the 76ers with 21 points and 13 rebounds, serving an increased role after Embiid exited with right knee soreness just seven minutes in to the game. The star, who was averaging 30 points per game through the first three outings in the series, finished with eight points and six rebounds.

Rivers also had to field questions about Simmons last week after he scored six points despite adding 15 assists and 15 rebounds in Game 1 of the series. Simmons' teammates spoke up in support of the star.

George Hill criticized the Philadelphia media for singling out Simmons, while Seth Curry assured reporters he was confident in both Simmons' abilities and Rivers' coaching strategy. 

"We know what he brings to the table on this team," Curry said. "That’s the reason he’s out there for so many minutes. He brings a lot of good stuff to the floor. If he was hurting us any, I’m sure he wouldn’t be out there."

He'll get another chance to prove himself on Wednesday (time TBA) in Game 5. 


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