Sports

Ben Simmons And Sixers Respond To Nets’ Trash Talk

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Gus Martin Contributor

This is what the NBA playoffs are all about.

This season’s first round has been somewhat uneventful, with six of the eight favorites currently leading in their best-of-seven matchups. This, in combination with no LeBron James for the first time since 2005, has predictability hurt viewership as ratings have declined across the board from last postseason, according to sportsmediawatch.com. (RELATED: TV Ratings For The NBA Playoffs Are Down 26% From 2018)

But fans can always count on rivalry to spice things up, and no teams have taken better advantage of the media’s ability to create conflict than the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.

These teams flat-out don’t like each other. Sixers superstar Joel Embiid’s haymaker elbow landed on Jarret Allen’s jaw, and then he was caught laughing during his post-game apology, which was the first sign of disrespect between the two franchises.

The most recent evidence came from Nets forward Jared Dudley, who said Wednesday, “I think Ben Simmons is a great player in transition. Once you slow him up in the half court, I think he’s average.”

Simmons clearly didn’t take kindly to these comments and dismissed Dudley’s criticism when asked about it prior to Thursday night’s contest.

Dudley’s words resurfaced the year-long debate about how damaging it is that Simmons’ jump shot is nonexistent, especially since he scored only nine points in a Game 1 loss at home.

The Sixers’ all-star was then clowned even more outside the Barclay’s center before Game 3, where pictures of a “missing” flyer bearing Simmons’ face surfaced all over Twitter.

Even after posting his second career playoff triple-double in a Game 2 win, Simmons had a ton of pressure on him going into Game 3 on the road after all this noise.

That pressure was heightened even more when right before tipoff Embiid was ruled out with left knee soreness, but Simmons silenced the haters with a career playoff high scoring performance.

He put up 31 points to go along with nine assists, doing so on 11-13 shooting and 9-11 from the free-throw line (surprising since he was 3-9 from the line in the first two games), making all facets of the game look easy and mocking the Nets the whole way through.

Dudley, on the other hand, could not back up his trash talk and scored a whopping zero points and shot one of the worst airballs you’ll ever see. Simmons was not shy about rubbing it in.

Sixers fans went right to Twitter and roasted Dudley for the rest of the evening after Philadelphia blew out Brooklyn 131-115 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. You love to see the intensity of guys like Simmons heightened in these playoff moments, but Embiid’s health will be the deciding factor in how long the Sixers playoff run will last.

The Nets need more than just their scoring trio of D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie to play well if they’re going to make things interesting. They definitely cannot afford to shoot just 20.5% from the 3-point-line again when they have snipers like Joe Harris playing heavy minutes.

The Nets will look to even the series in Game 4 in Brooklyn this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. For now, enjoy some of the best post-game tweets from last night.