PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Sixers head coach Doc Rivers strongly defended Ben Simmons following Monday night’s Game 4 loss to the Washington Wizards. Late in the fourth quarter when the game was close, the Wizards began intentionally fouling Simmons, sending him to the free-throw line.
Rivers said he wasn’t considering taking Simmons off the floor as the Wizards pulled a version of the Hack-a-Shaq strategy that Shaquille O’Neal used to face.
“You want me to take Ben Simmons off the floor? He’s pretty good, so I’ll pass on that suggestion,” Rivers said.
Doc Rivers says no thought of taking Ben off the floor.
Said he would pass on elaborating further.
— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) June 1, 2021
Simmons came into the night 0 for 9 on free throws in the series and was 1 for 3 for the night before Hack-a-Ben went into full effect. He made one of two tries each of the final four times he stepped to the line to end up 5 for 11. He finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Rivers didn’t hold back when accusing media members of keeping the “Ben Simmons narrative alive.”
“You guys keep this Ben Simmons narrative alive, which I think is freaking insane. Ben is not a 40-point guy,” Rivers said. “That’s not what he does. He does so many other things for your team. And I just don’t understand why that’s not sinking in for our city.”
Doc Rivers to media: "You guys keep this Ben Simmons narrative alive, which I think is freaking insane. Ben is not a 40-point guy. That’s not what he does. He does so many other things for your team. And I just don’t understand why that’s not sinking in for our city."
— Michael K-B (@therealmikekb) June 1, 2021
Sixers’ Joel Embiid left Monday’s game due to knee soreness toward the end of the 1st quarter. He was scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday, but there are no updates to his injury at this time.
The Sixers lead the series 3-1.
Game 5 is Wednesday night in Philadelphia and it will be the first time the Wells Fargo Center is at 100% capacity since before the coronavirus pandemic.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)