PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers shot 58% of their shots in the 143-120 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, but the most discussed shot after the match is the one that was not play.
Ben Simmons took less than a minute of the third quarter of Sunday's overwhelming victory for the Sixers, their second straight with their new start to five. But given the potential ramifications for this team if it became a regular event, shooting could have been the most important of the Sixers.
"I might as well come down and shoot him," Simmons said of the attempt, which took place in the middle of the clock. "I did not really think about it."
Everyone, however, could not stop thinking or talking about it.
"I liked it," Tobias Harris said. "And it was in the basket too."
"A bit like everyone else," said Sixers coach Brett Brown at the players bench reaction when Simmons fired. "Like," OK. "
Joel Embiid, as usual, was much more descriptive when asked what he thought of it. After JJ Redick said "he was not shocked" by Simmons' shot, Embiid turned to him and said, "Are you sure?" Then, once the laughter subsided, Embiid described the piece from his point of view.
"In fact, it was coming in," he said. "Personally, I was getting ready to play the game, and then I just saw the ball go by, and I thought," Oh, s — "It caught me off guard, then I was in the position where [I was thinking], & # 39; What has just happened? & # 39;
He was not alone to be surprised. Despite all of Simmons' successes in the past season and a half – including winning rookie of the year last season and being named all-star by the all-star game last month – his absence from shooting is often the biggest topic of discussion on his game. This is due to the fact that Simmons accomplishes many things: as a 6-foot-10, 230-pound keeper, he made comparisons with a the man he was playing (LeBron James) and a man who was watching the crowd (Magic Johnson) for a reason – and how useful his jumper is to the rest of his game.
For example: Markelle Fultz, despite all the problems he has encountered with his jumper, has managed a record of 4 against 14 for a gap of 3 points in 19 games this season. Even after Sunday's attempt, Simmons took three in 55 games. According to ESPN Stats & Information's research, all hours except Sundays have arrived at the end of a quarter or a clock.
This absence of Simmons' shot is what Brown says sparked a discussion between the coach and his star point leader in the 24 hours before Sunday's match. Brown, who likes to divide the Philadelphia season into thirds, said Simmons and he had discussed using the third third of the season – which started Sunday for the 36-20 now – to prepare the Simmons for the playoffs playoffs.
Simmons battled the Boston Celtics in the five-game loss to Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals a year ago. On Sunday afternoon, James practically challenged Simmons to miss Simmons, spending most of his time protecting him.
"We talked a lot about it and I thought it looked good," Brown said. "The shot looked good, his pace was good, he was close to coming in. It did not seem uncomfortable to pull him in. And he can tell you the story. history he wishes, but he and I have been talking about this concept for a month – little in the last 24 hours, what will happen for the third third of the regular season, what can we do to prepare for the playoffs, and what will happen?
Joel Embiid describes his reaction to Ben Simmons' three-point attempt and his thoughts.
"We've all seen to the extreme that LeBron does not keep it, and we all have memories of the Celtics series, so somewhere in the middle we have a window of 27 or whatever the number of games left I would like to try some of that stuff in the last games here before the break of the star game and take off with for the last third. That's a long explanation to your question, but the bottom of the reason is important. "
For Simmons, this conversation boiled down to one thing: being more and more willing to take the shots that opposing defenses, like James and the Lakers, would give him.
"I just think I'm more aggressive, take more shots and try to develop my game that way," he said. "I think I'm coming in. It takes time, but I'm going to get there."
With Philadelphia's new look from age five, the Sixers can attack that extra space otherwise than through Simmons. One of them uses it in dribbling with a sniper such as Redick, while a player like James gives Simmons such an important space. In the fourth quarter, Philadelphia played an offside piece that earned Redick an open 3 that takes advantage of the distance that separated James from Simmons from a typical offensive series.
Even with all the firepower Philadelphia has available after acquiring Harris as a big hit with the Clippers last week, Simmons' total absence of shots is considered a potential Achilles heel for the odds. this team is coming out of the last deadly playoff series of the East and reaching the finals of the NBA for the first time since 2001.
So it is not surprising that, for one man, all members of the Sixers publicly encouraged Simmons to keep on shooting – whether they went there or not.
"I thought it was in," said Embiid. "There were comings and goings, I would have liked him to succeed, but he's working on it, every day we tell him that he has to shoot." There's nothing wrong with that.
"I am a 3 point shooter at 30%, and you have guys jumping on my fake.I do not understand how it is possible, but they always do it.So, every day he works on it, and I think it was C & # 39; was the first step, and I hope he continues to shoot. "
For his part, Simmons said that he would do it – but also that even if he starts taking more than 3, he will not allow him to get away from other parts of his game that have made it an elite player without having a credible threat of a jump shot.
"I'm going to start getting ready," he said, "but it's not something I'm looking at, it's not everything, I'm not just focusing on that. I will play my game, play hard and continue to try to get better.