Ben Simmons posted his fifth triple-double of the season last night in Utah. His 76ers managed to defeat the Jazzers twice in a row at Salt Lake for the first time since 1987. In the end, it was 114-97 for the guests from the East coast, who are on a four-game road trip through the West.
But this game was more than a regular one for him. The Utah Jazz fans were after the Aussie because he won the Rookie of the Year award instead of Donovan Mitchell. Both fans and Mitchell still can’t get over that, because, according to them, Simmons didn’t have the right to participate in the ROY race since he already missed the entire previous season.
That is why he received so many insults during the game. But he did have a response on all of them.
“I got a triple-double,” Simmons answered to one fan who was talking to him while making an inbound pass to Jimmy Butler.
The No.1 pick from the 2016 NBA draft, ended the night with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists, along with three steals and a rejection.
— NBA (@NBA) December 28, 2018
After the game, he was calm while giving the interview for the ESPN. Simmons was satisfied with the way everything turned out.
“I love being able to come into an arena and hear boos and chants, whatever it is, see signs and come in here and win by 20. I mean, there’s nothing better than that.”
When speaking about the fans and trash talk between them and him, Simmons told that he expected a little bit more, as they had enough time to bring some new things and not stick to the old ones which referred to the rookie year.
“I mean, they had a long time to prepare to have good things to say to me,” Simmons said. “They’re still stuck in, like, Rookie of the Year stuff. Same old jokes. It was kind of disappointing.”
Now, when questions about the game began, Philly’s playmaker had better impressions, and he definitely wasn’t disappointed.
“I just like to have fun, come here and play. I don’t really have any expectations in terms of how many triple-doubles I’ve got. I just want to come out, have fun and win games.”
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) December 28, 2018
So far, he’s doing good. The Sixers have 23 wins and 13 losses and are fourth in the Eastern Conference three games behind the Toronto Raptors who are leading the league.
This was the seventh win on the road for Brett Brown’s boys, but in 17 games, and that is something they need to improve if they want to make some notable result. On the other hand, when playing at Wells Fargo Center, the 76ers are almost unstoppable with 16 wins and only 3 failures.
They will play three more games on this mini-tour. Against the Trail Blazers, next Sunday, Clippers on Tuesday and the last one in Arizona against the Suns on Wednesday. It will be a test for them to see do they have what it takes to play constantly at a high level, or just to flash from time to time.
As for Simmons and his performances, well he plays at All-NBA level. 15.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.1 assists. But not only that, his vision and creativity are leading Philly. In a team which has Embiid, Butler, Reddick and other lethal finishers, Simmons is the guy who makes it all possible. That is what makes him so important and big, not only the stats.
The Sixers can play without any one of them and that is a fact, but without the former Rookie of the Year, we could hardly imagine them to be competitive at that level.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.