Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers defended his decision to keep Ben Simmons on the court late in Monday’s down regardless of the Washington Wizards’ utilization of his poor free throw shooting in transit to a 122-114 Game 4 triumph at Capital One Arena.
The Wizards purposefully fouled Simmons four times in the game, including three times in the final two minutes as they started to lead the pack for great. Simmons came into the game 0 of 9 from the foul line in the series and went 1 of 2 at the line each time Washington deliberately hacked him.
“You want me to take Ben Simmons off the floor? He’s pretty good. I’ll pass on that suggestion,” Rivers said. “He could have [made more free throws] but he didn’t. But he still does other things. I’ll take that. Listen, keep the narrative going, we’re just going to keep playing.”
Waterways has defended and advocated for Simmons all through the season, backing him for Defensive Player of the Year and praising his playmaking. After Simmons scored only six points however had 15 bounce back and 15 assists the 76ers’ Game 1 triumph over the Wizards, Rivers reprimanded fans who were disparaging of his scoring.
Simmons shot 61% at the line on the season yet only 53% after the All-Star break.
“I’m not upset, it’s basketball,” said Simmons, who was 5 of 10 from the line in the game and scored 13 points overall. “I’m not worried about people fouling me.”
Rivers said that Simmons making at least one free throw per trip to the line was genuinely worthy and that he didn’t feel it cost the 76ers the game.
“I didn’t think he was scared of the moment, he just didn’t make them,” Rivers said. “We’re going to keep him on the floor. Unless you guys want us to bench him the whole game, if anybody wants us to do that let me know and I’ll know you don’t know basketball.”