Philly coach’s extraordinary defence of Simmons

Doc Rivers can’t fathom criticism of Ben Simmons, especially after the three-time All-Star became just the sixth player in NBA history to have at least 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a playoff game.

“Only in Philadelphia,” Rivers said Tuesday when asked about the critics.

“If you guys don’t know the treasure you have by now, then shame on everyone because he’s been fantastic for us. He creates points every single night for us. When Ben was on the floor, we were really good.

“I’m amazed that people don’t see what he does. We’re so caught up in the amount of points he scored.

“Does it matter if Ben had all 125? Would we be mad that Joel (Embiid) didn’t score? Who cares who scores as long as we’re scoring.

“When Ben plays, we score more points.”

Simmons scored six points in Philadelphia’s 125-118 victory over Washington in Game 1 of their first-round series opener. He missed all six of his free throws and his shooting deficiencies sometimes overshadow his all-around game, including his impressive defense.

“He’s a big guy and he plays guard,” said Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who scored 33 points in Game 1.

“It’s not like he’s a power forward or a center guarding me. He’s very mobile, agile, and he’s strong. So that propels him. And the fact that he wants to play defense. He’s a willing defender. You don’t always see that.”

The 76ers, Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks each look to take 2-0 series leads on Wednesday night.

While Philadelphia won its opener against Beal, Russell Westbrook and sub.-500 Washington, Western Conference No. 1 seed Utah fell to Memphis 112-109 in Game 1. The Jazz expect to have Donovan Mitchell back Wednesday after he was a late scratch Sunday.

“I was definitely frustrated and upset that I wasn’t able to play,” Mitchell said. “I’m a competitor. I felt I was ready to go, and unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.”

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

pin up