Despite not having almost anything go their way in Game 4 on Monday, the Sixers still found themselves with a chance to sweep the Wizards. Small bursts from some players off the bench helped keep the team within striking distance in the final minutes.
With the Wizards' season on the line, head coach Scott Brooks resorted to more unorthodox tactics. Washington began to "Hack-A-Ben" down the stretch, repeatedly sending the Sixers' All-Star to the free-throw line.
This game plan was not shocking, as Simmons did not hit a single free-throw in the first three games of the series. Simmons went to the line 11 times on Monday and converted five attempts. A majority of those attempts came in the fourth quarter, where he shot 4-8.
The numbers game eventually caught up to the Sixers, and the Wizards managed to force a game five. How things transpired with Simmons became the main talking point of Doc Rivers' postgame media availability.
Even though they didn't walk away with the win, Rivers was not displeased with the "Hack-A-Ben" situation, understanding that it's something teams could use against them late in games.
"Analytically, if you split all those free throws. Offensively you'll take a point per possession, he did that. I had no issues with it. Obviously, we would love it if he made them both, but I didn't think that changed the game at all for us. Obviously, that's what they're going to do, that's what they should do," said Rivers.
As Washington continued to attack Simmons' weakness, Rivers never planned on removing him from the game. When asked if the thought ever crossed his mind, Rivers responded by saying, "You want me to take Ben Simmons off the floor? He's pretty good, so I'll pass on that suggestion."
Rivers has hammered home all season how impactful Simmons is to this team. If they wanted any chance of walking out with a win on Monday, he needed to be out there.
The free-throw shooting can reasonably be a concern, but it is far from why the Sixers lost in game four. His one point per trip kept things a one-possession game almost until the final minute.
After seeing how successful this strategy worked in game four, one might start to wonder how frequently teams will resort to it moving forward.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.