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Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons was one of the main focuses of criticism the team received after losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night.
One of the cornerstones of the 76ers series, Simmons scored five points in 35 minutes in Philadelphia’s 103-96 defeat. Simmons was 2 for 4 off the field and 1 for 2 off the foul line. He took a point in the fourth quarter – from the foul line – and had no field goal attempt.
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He finished the series with an average of 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. It was nowhere near enough to get the job done, and Shaquille O’Neal let him know.
“I don’t shoot off the line well on this series,” Simmons told reporters on ESPN after the game. “I wasn’t there on the offensive. I haven’t done enough for my team-mates. … There are many things that I have to work on.”
He added that he would take the off-season to relax and work on mental obstacles.
HAWKS GOES TO EAST FINALS AFTER GAME 7 IN PHILADELPHIA
“The first thing I’ll do is clear my head and get my mental rights. You have to be mentally strong. You can’t take games for granted. Especially in the playoffs. Every game counts. Every possession is important. ” he said.
TNT analyst O’Neal didn’t accept excuses for the # 1 overall draft of 2016.
On Saturday, O’Neal advised Simmons to “man up” and came up harder for him on Sunday night.
“If I’ve played games 1 and 2 and I know I’m not helping my teammates, what do you think I’ll do in game 3? It doesn’t take seven games to realize this, I don’t want to hear this man” said the NBA legend. “It doesn’t take seven games to know you’re not playing right, do it right. He didn’t get doubles, just being aggressive, that’s all I want. I don’t want to hear any of this.” , Stop doing that.
“If he was in my locker room, I would have blown him. I don’t want to hear that, get it out of my face. “
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It’s another disappointing ending for the 76ers. The team accused of refueling to earn high draft picks for selecting Simmons and Joel Embiid hasn’t made it to the NBA finals since 2001. Since then, it has not made it into the Eastern Conference finals.