Philadelphia 76ers star guard Ben Simmons took the full blame for his team's exit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. On Sunday night, the Sixers lost Game 7 in Philadelphia as the visiting Hawks won 103-96 to progress into the Eastern Conference Finals.
Simmons shot 15-of-45 from the free-throw line throughout the series. "I ain't shoot well from the line this series," Simmons said following the Sixers' 103-96 Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. "Offensively, I wasn't there.
I didn't do enough for my teammates. ... There's a lot of things that I need to work on." Sixers star center Joel Embiid had 31 points and 11 rebounds but it wasn't enough. "Man, I will be honest. I thought the turning point was, you know, when we, I don't know how to say it, but I thought the turning point was just we had an open shot and we made one free throw and we missed the other and they came down and scored," Embiid said.
Simmons wants to take his time
"The first thing I'm going to do is clear my mind and get my mental right," he said. "You got to be mentally tough. You can't take games for granted. Especially in the playoffs.
Every game matters. Every possession matters." When asked could the Sixers win an NBA title with Simmons as their point guard, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers declined to answer directly. "I don't know that question or the answer to that right now," Rivers said.
"So I don't know the answer to that." Simmons finished Game 7 with five points, eight rebounds and 13 assists. "How many assists did I have?" he asked, referring to his 13 dimes. "What did Trae [Young] shoot?" he asked, bringing attention to the Hawks star's 5-for-23 shooting night, with many of those misses coming with Simmons on him.
"I'm not going to let you say that," he said of the characterization of his postseason struggles. "We lost, it sucks. I am who I am. It is what it is. It's not easy to win. And it shows. The Nets got finished by the Bucks.
It's not easy to win. And I work." 76ers head coach Rivers defended his point guard. "That's what Ben did. And so, there was a positive to Ben," Rivers said. "Even though people are upset at him. But defensively, he did his job tonight on Trae."