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Sport NBA crunch time for Simmons and 76ers

04:50  20 june  2021
04:50  20 june  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

NBA Playoffs 2021: Joel Embiid overcomes knee soreness to post big night in Game 3 win for Philadelphia 76ers

  NBA Playoffs 2021: Joel Embiid overcomes knee soreness to post big night in Game 3 win for Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid looked sore at times, but still managed to put up a big line, finishing with 27 points as the Philadelphia 76ers cruised to take a 2-1 lead in the series.The Philadelphia 76ers have recovered from a shock Game 1 loss to take a 2-1 series lead on the back of a 127-111 win in Atlanta.

Ben Simmons' NBA career is at a crossroads going into the Philadelphia 76ers' playoffs series-deciding clash with the Altanta Hawks.

Ben Simmons holding a basketball: Ben Simmons (c) is under pressure going into Philadelphia's NBA series decider against Atlanta. © EPA PHOTO Ben Simmons (c) is under pressure going into Philadelphia's NBA series decider against Atlanta.

The 24-year-old Australian is a three-time All Star, one of the league's great defenders, a creative passer and a dynamic force close to the basket.

But 76ers coach Doc Rivers has been forced to bench his guard at crucial stages in the playoffs because he doesn't shoot 3-pointers (5-for-34 career) and he has been a liability at the foul line, making him a target to be hacked to stymie his team's offence.

Under fire Simmons makes unwanted NBA history

  Under fire Simmons makes unwanted NBA history Ben Simmons' foul-shooting woes so far in the playoffs aren't just obvious. They're basically unprecedented.They're basically unprecedented.

Heading into Game 7 at home against the Hawks on Sunday (Monday AEST), Simmons has made a lamentable 24 of 71 free-throw attempts during this post-season.

He took only six shots and scored just six points in Game 6 as the 76ers prevailed 104-99 in Atlanta to keep their season alive and has averaged just over 10 points a game in the series.

Simmons described his free-throw issues as "definitely mental" earlier in the series.

Now there is speculation it could be the 2016 No.1 draft pick's last game for the 76ers if they lose and so fail to make the Eastern Conference finals as he could be traded.

That's a disturbing turnaround for a player who, along with superstar centre Joel Embiid, has been a cornerstone of the club's eight-year "trust the process" rebuild designed to create a championship force.

NBA Playoffs 2021: Game 7 fast facts and history for Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks

  NBA Playoffs 2021: Game 7 fast facts and history for Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks The 76ers and Hawks have faced-off twice previously in the postseason with the Philadelphia franchise winning both those matchups, back in 1980 and 1982. By winning this Game 7, the 76ers are looking to make their 10th Conference Finals and first since 2001 while the Hawks are looking for just their second-ever Conference Finals berth. That said, let's take a quick look at how both franchises have fared in Game 7s in the past. Philadelphia 76ers Your browser does not support this video This would be the 17th Game 7 in franchise history with the team holding a 6-10 record in the previous 16.

The 76ers are trying to make the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2001.

They were in a similar situation two years and lost Game 7 to the Toronto Raptors in the eastern conference semi-finals when Kawhi Leonard sank a winning buzzer-beater.

Yet the 76ers will be hesitant to rely on their home-court advantage this time around, having recently given up a 26-point lead to surrender Game 5 to the Hawks at home.

The Hawks have playoffs history of their own to overcome. They are 0-9 in Game 7 matches on the road in franchise history.

You have to look at that, the fact we have won there twice in this series," Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. "I think we feel we play with confidence on the road."

Ben Simmons to be cruelly banished by Philly .
Ben Simmons is being dragged out the door at Philadelphia after an act that the city "ain't never going to forgive him" for.Ben Simmons has been hammered by the US basketball media after perhaps the lowest point of his NBA career following the Philadelphia 76ers' disastrous elimination in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

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