The Philadelphia 76ers' season came to a sudden and bitter end, and as great as the Atlanta Hawks were, they're still mostly to blame for their collapse.
The Sixers were up 15 points in Game 4 and 25 points in Game 5 and lost both games. They were able to force Game 7 at home but were flat for most of the second half, especially down the stretch.
Most fans are blaming Ben Simmons for the loss. Not only did he missed a lot of free throws during the series but also he simply refused to shoot, even giving up a wide-open layup.
That's why his teammates Dwight Howard and Danny Green - who have both endured plenty of criticism throughout their careers - came out in his defense:
"Ben has gone through quite a bit this year, and it’s not his fault that we lost…you can’t just harp on one player, and to his defense, he said he couldn’t find his rhythm but he did other things for us…I also think it’s a mistake that people think he doesn’t care," Green said, as quoted by Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice.
Dwight Howard said that it's time to stop the Ben Simmons slander and that people shouldn't send all that negative energy towards the players they're supposed to root for.
It's not a secret that Philadelphia has some of the toughest, harshest fans in the world. They're merciless and unforgiving, and Simmons hasn't done much to help his case throughout the years.
While we agree that a single player shouldn't be to blame or point out, it's also true that Simmons hasn't improved the slightest since his rookie season. He's got the potential to be an all-time great, yet it seems like he refuses to put in work to improve the only thing holding him back.