Dudley called Simmons an “average player in the half court” before the third game of the first round Eastern Conference playoff series. Simmons responded by leading his squad to a 131-115 victory Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Dudley didn’t score a point in the loss.
Simmons told reporters in his postgame news conference that he wasn’t “worried about it,” when asked about Dudley’s comments.
“We have the pieces to complete games,” Simmons said. “I think everybody in our organization knows that. It’s about everybody stepping and following the plan … Just buying in to what we have built.”
The Sixers now hold a 2-1 lead in the series, despite playing Thursday’s game without star center Joel Embiid.
Philadelphia led by as much as 18 points in the win. Simmons made his presence felt early. The star guard scored his first basket at the 9:49 mark in the first frame, via hook shot. The shot sparked a run of eight points for Simmons in the next 2:37, helping the Sixers keep the game close. Philadelphia held a 32-24 lead after the first frame.
Simmons added six more points in the second quarter and the Sixers led by six points at halftime. He added just two points in the third quarter, but caught fire in the final frame. The Sixers star went off for 15 points down the stretch, helping Philadelphia secure the vital road victory.
“For us, we gotta find a way to get wins,” Dudley told reporters. “Whether its Ben scoring 40 or someone else, we just can’t have four or five guys kill us.”
The Nets host the Sixers in the fourth game of the series at 3 p.m. Saturday in Brooklyn.