Washington dished out the “Hack-A-Shaq” treatment to Ben Simmons — and it worked a treat as the Aussie’s shooting let Philadelphia down badly.
The Wizards beat Philly 122-114 to register the first win of their Eastern Conference playoff series and keep their season alive. The 76ers still lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 but Simmons’ wonky radar will be a concern.
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The biggest question mark around Simmons’ game has always been his shooting from outside the paint and his accuracy from the free-throw line. The Wizards were happy to repeatedly foul Simmons in the fourth quarter and send him to the charity stripe, confident he wouldn’t be able to hurt them on the scoreboard.
They were right. Simmons shot a woeful 5-11 on free throws and angry NBA fans on the internet were quick to mock him for being as bad as — if not worse than — notoriously awful free-throw shooter Shaquille O’Neal.
Scoring from outside the paint isn’t Simmons’ strong suit.Source:AFP
American sportscaster Skip Bayless tweeted: “Painful to watch Ben Simmons missing free throws after being intentionally fouled. Doc can’t take him out — he’s a star, a defensive force. Doc would risk losing him psychologically. But Ben eventually must learn how to make 70% of his FTs under pressure. Or get subbed.”
Journalist Adam Beasley wrote: “Seriously Ben Simmons is a high level NBA player who flat out can’t shoot. That’s crazy.”
Philadelphia-based sports writer Mike Sielski added: “You can love the other aspects of Ben Simmons’ game. I love them, too. But the free-throw shooting — the shooting in general — is a thing. And a good opponent can exploit it in a playoff series.”
Sports writer Cedric Golden wrote: “Legitimate question: how can a player of Ben Simmons’ talent be so inept at the line? Does he not put in the work in the off-season? This hack-a-shaq is embarrassing. My old butt can get off the couch and shoot 60 per cent.”
Radio presenter Bonta Hill said: “Ben Simmons fourth-year and his jumper hasn’t improved at all. That’s problematic.”
ESPN’s Mina Kimes wrote: “Ben Simmons is walking to the free throw line like he’s being asked to clean his room.”
Bleacher Report’s NBA reporter Tyler Conway added: “Ben Simmons is … a smooth athlete, he’s intelligent, he plays hard, he’s versatile. He’s like if God went to design the perfect basketball player and accidentally then slept through the deadline to add the shooting component.”
NFL reporter John McMullen said: “Simmons can’t be on the floor in tight games unless the other coach is morally opposed to the Hack-A-Ben strategy.”
Ben Simmons from the free throw line pic.twitter.com/a9Hc6Jof4r
Sixers coach Doc Rivers stood by Simmons post-match, giving short shrift to a question about whether he should have taken his Aussie star off the court down the home straight.
“You want me to take Ben Simmons off the floor? He’s pretty good, so I’ll pass on that suggestion,” Rivers said.
“You guys keep this Ben Simmons narrative going, which is freaking insane. Ben is not a 40-point guy. I just don’t understand why this is not sinking in in this city.
“If I’m Ben, I’d get tired of it. Celebrate him and all the things he does well.
“You guys keep the Ben Simmons narrative going, we’re going to keep playing.”
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