Ben Simmons will face one of the biggest challenges in his career today when his Philadelphia 76ers take on the Atlanta Hawks. Philly receives Atlanta in a win-or-go-home game trying to stop Trae Young and co.
Simmons will have a huge responsibility trying to lead his team to the Eastern Conference Finals. People expect a lot from him after struggling this entire series. The Australian player has received plenty of criticism for his struggles at the free-throw line, and this game will give him a big chance to redeem himself.
Former NBA player-turned-analyst Shaquille O'Neal had some encouraging words for Ben. Shaq urged Simmons to stop 'messing around' and put in the work he needs to lead the Sixers to the next round.
“Camera!” Shaq said to one cameraman as he took off his glasses. “Ben, you went to LSU. Man up, man. Man up. Stop messing around. Come on, now. You know better than that.”
Simmons isn't backing down to the challenge, though. After Philadelphia stole Game 6 at State Farm Arena, the Aussie point guard said he was ready for the series' last Game. Having fans in their favor is a plus for Philly and Ben is well aware of that.
“I’m looking forward to it," Simmons said following Game 6, via Sports Illustrated. "I look forward to every game. This is gonna be special because we’re at home. Obviously, we’re gonna have our fans there and their energy on top, so it’s gonna be great. I’m looking forward to it.”
Despite getting a lot of hate in recent times, some people still believe in Simmons and want him to succeed. This will be a huge chance to silence the critics and made it clear that he's a big-time player.
Philly receives Atlanta tonight in a fascinating game. The winner will face the Milwaukee Bucks in the ECF.