With the recent injury to superstar Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers had no choice but to tweak their winning ways for the final stage of the season. A pass-happy approach would be necessary for the team to continue to be successful, and all roads led to their rookie Ben Simmons in leading the charge.
Last nights 119-102 win over the Charlotte Hornets posted their 10th straight victory, their second straight without Embiid, and become their longest winning streak since 2003. The entire team got involved with five players scoring in double figures, led by Marco Belinelli (22), Ben Simmons (20), J.J. Redick (20), Robert Covington (17) and Ersan Ilyasova (16). Covington also contributed 11 rebounds and 7 steals.
Sure, the last 2 wins have come over Eastern Conference non-Playoff teams but still, Simmons is ecstasy when watching him control an NBA floor. He was clearly the difference in Sunday’s game by controlling both the offense and defense.
Simmons already was well on his way to winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award heading into the month of March. But what he’s done lately for this team has all but sealed the prestigious award to the 76ers point forward.
If there was any silver lining to Embiid’s injury, it was giving Ben Simmons a chance to exert control over the team and learn how to carry the roster himself. An Embiid return will be vital for a deep Playoff run, but Simmons will be better equipped now than earlier in the season to keep Philadelphia competitive.
Catch you Thursday.