Advanced analytics can be useful if you know what you are looking for, but sometimes the good old box score is enough to understand what went wrong. The story of the night for game 2 of the Boston – Philadelphia series is Ben Simmons only scoring 1 point. Simmons went 0 – 4 from the field and 1 – 2 from the free-throw line.
The Miami series may have fooled us on assessing the level of progress Simmons has made this season. As many have suspected, you can’t be a competitive guard at the top level without a shot. Any shot. Defenses will take away your lanes and dare you to shot. Tonight, Simmons didn’t dare. We know what his no.1 task this offseason will be, the most interesting part being will he change his shooting hand as many suggested he should. Simmons shoots with his left but prefers to finish around the basket with his right, an indicator he may need to change to shooting with the right hand.
Even with such a poor performance from Simmons, Philadelphia was competitive till the very end so they can still be confident in their chances. The odds may not be on their side but it's not like they were blown out of it in these past two games. At 3:54 to go in the second quarter they had a 53-33 lead which melted down to 53 – 51 at the half. Scary Terry showed up and led the Celtics to in those last minutes of the first half. The second half saw the teams go back and forward on the lead and the game was decided in the last 5 minutes with a couple of threes from Morris and Rozier getting a 99 – 95 lead for the Celts, a lead they didn’t let go till the end.
Rozier has been the discovery of the playoffs, taking on a significant workload and choosing his spots wisely. He didn’t have an out-of-his-mind game, shooting 6 – 15 from the field, 4 – 9 for 3pt, but he was +17 for the game and once again had no turnovers. Rozier just adds one good problem for Danny Ainge to have this summer, deciding to keep him or trade him managing the cap and the Celtics salary.
The series is far from decided, but the 76ers have their work cut out for them. The main things to watch out for in-game 3: will Simmons be able to find an adjustment to the Celtics defense and if not, will Brett Brown have the courage to sit him for significant minutes and play TJ McConnell more?