‘Carry on…’: Ben shuts up the hate in triple-double show as Embiid-less 76ers advance
Ben Simmons stepped up in Joel Embiids absence, in more ways than one, as the Philadelphia 76ers wrapped up their first-round series against Washington on Thursday (AEST).
The 6-foot-11 point-centre was the biggest man on the court to start for the Embiid-less Sixers, who put the Wizards away in a convincing 129-112 Game 5 win.
Simmons put on a show in Philadelphia; displaying the sort of two-way ability that had Sixers head coach Doc Rivers defending his All-Stars name after a nightmare Game 4.
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The Australian did a bit of everything on his way to a third career post-season triple-double and team-high +17. In a statement peformance, Simmons tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, along with two blocks and one steal in a team-high 39 minutes.
He became just the third Sixer in playoff history after Wilt Chamberlain and Charles Barkley to put up 19/10/10 on 60 percent shooting.
After a series that saw him widely criticised throughout, Simmons finished with averages of 14.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 9.2 assists a game.
The 24-year-old also buried some of his free throw demons, going 5-for-8 at the line, and 3-for-4 when intentionally sent there by the Wizards.
Simmons got good help from Seth Curry, who led the team in scoring with 30 points, as well as Tobias Harris, who finished with 28.
Ben was incredible, Rivers said post-game. Tobias was incredible. Seth, you know, what can you say?
Opposing head coach Scott Brooks waxed lyrical about Simmons defence post-game, telling reporters: I dont know if hes going to get Defensive Player of the Year, but I think hes Defensive Play of the Year.
Not too many guys can guard 1-5, and he can guard 1-5. Theres some guys who can guard one position, and do it well. But theres only a handful of guys that can do it like he does.
Philadelphia had a 65-63 lead at the break, but really got going in the third quarter behind a Curry flurry, before putting Washington away with a fast start to the fourth.
Bradley Beal topscored for Washington with 32 points, while Russell Westbrook put up an inefficient 24 points (7-for-20 shooting) to go with 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Next up for the Sixers? The Atlanta Hawks, who put the New York Knicks away in five games.
Its unclear whether theyll have Embiid back, who is considered day-to-day with a small tear of the meniscus in his right knee.