Philadelphia 76ers All-Star point guard Ben Simmons responded to Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley calling him an "average" half-court player by logging a career performance in the Sixers' 131-115 Game 3 win in Brooklyn Thursday night.
Following the best postseason scoring performance of his career with 31 points, the 22-year-old called game on any budding feud with Dudley:
To go along with his 31 points, Simmons had nine assists, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals. His inspired outing boosted Philadelphia to a 2-1 series lead over the Nets.
Nets fans gave Simmons literal bulletin board material ahead of Thursday night's game when a missing poster for the reigning rookie of the year's jumper appeared on a pole near the Barclays Center:
Dudley responded to the ruckus his initial assessment stirred up while meeting with reporters following his team's embarrassing loss.
"It was really not supposed to be a back-and-forth," the 33-year-old said, per YES Network. "It was basically just answering a question. I mean, obviously, media has a job to do, and that's understandable, but for us, we gotta find a way to get wins. If it's Ben scoring 40 ... we just can't have four or five guys kill us."
While Dudley took the higher road Thursday night, Simmons took a shot at the 12-year veteran when asked about the comments Thursday morning. "That's coming from Jared Dudley, come on," he asserted, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (h/t Christopher Lavinio).
As James Herbert of CBS Sports pointed out, Dudley's comments in their full context were not inaccurate or out of line:
However, it was all Simmons needed to make the Nets pay. To Dudley's point, though, all of Simmons' scoring came in the paint or from the free-throw line, which continues to solidify the narrative that the former No. 1 overall pick struggles when pressured to shoot from range.
Regardless, for now, Simmons has the last laugh. Brooklyn will next have the chance to respond Saturday afternoon beginning at 2 p.m., televised on TNT from Barclays Center.