After receiving unnecessary criticism for his performance in Game 1, Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons continues to shine in this first-round matchup against the Washington Wizards. He continues to do it all for the Sixers on both ends of the floor.
Simmons racked up 14 points, five rebounds, and nine assists in Saturday's win over the Wizards. In these last two games, he has done an incredible job balancing between getting himself going and setting up teammates.
Throughout this series, Washington has struggled against the size of the Sixers' starting lineup. Scott Brooks changed things up for game three and tried to match size for size. He abandoned his three-guard lineup and ran Davis Bertans with the starters.
While this made the Wizards bigger, it did not have much effect on the Sixers. They continued to find mismatches and exploit them. Simmons found himself with the mismatch again in game three and continually attacked it.
In Game 2, Simmons found himself primarily matched up against a guard. He used his size advantage and scored effectively in the post. On Saturday, Simmons matched up against Rui Hachimura.
Tobias Harris showed in game one that Hachimura didn't have the quickness to stay in front of him. Simmons also used his speed and managed to get easy looks at the rim.
After the game, Doc Rivers credited Simmons for his ability to read the coverage and open things up for himself and others.
"That's two games where Ben recognized the coverage. They changed the coverage in game one. Today they changed the personnel on him. I thought Ben really saw that early on. When we saw it, we were like full steam every time," said Rivers.
Rivers also cited that Simmons was able to create a lot of threes in Saturday's win. Something that Rivers has emphasized Simmons has done well all year.
The 24-year-old All-Star has done an incredible job exploiting what the defense is giving him the last two games. He is asserting himself on offense similar to how he did in the weeks leading up to the All-Star break. Maybe now the critics will finally leave him alone.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.