Outrage as Ben Simmons ‘pathetic’ left out of Game 4 return for Nets

Trailing 3-0 in their NBA first-round playoff series, the Brooklyn Nets ruled out Ben Simmons for Game 4 against the visiting Boston Celtics on Sunday.

Simmons was expected to make his season and team debut on Monday night after a long period of build-up while struggling with a back injury.

But ESPN reported that Simmons woke up with back pain on Sunday, and he and the Nets agreed to play it safe and keep him out.

With the Australian having courted controversy all season after his ugly falling out with the Philadelphia 76ers, the decision was criticized by the basketball world, with Simmons being called “pathetic” by analyst Stephen A. Smith.

“It’s one of the most pathetic situations I’ve ever seen in my life,” Smith said. ESPN.

“I feel bad for whoever is his teammate. He left LSU, he left the Philadelphia 76ers, and now he’s not showing up for the Brooklyn Nets.

“We can point to all the excuses, all the justifications behind this that we want. I remember, even though he’s not playing, he still filed a grievance to collect $20 million which he didn’t win.

“He won’t go to war, he won’t go to the Octagon, he won’t go to a boxing ring. It’s pulling teeth to get this man to play basketball. It’s pathetic . It’s sad.

“And at the end of the day, when the NBA comes into the collective bargaining table and goes after the players in terms of the pay-for-play stipulation in the collective agreement, it’s going to be called the rule of Ben Simmons.”

Twitter has since exploded with near-universal condemnation of Simmons, with NBA analyst Bill Simmons joking that the Aussie is “now aiming for Game 7 or Game 8” for his comeback – with the Nets 3-0 in the best of seven series. .

The former Philadelphia 76ers star was cleared for contact last week and took part in other live drills in practice, including a 4-on-4 drill.

The No. 2-seeded Celtics beat the No. 7-seeded Nets 109-103 on Saturday night to advance by a daunting margin.

No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a play-off series.

Simmons, acquired in a blockbuster trade in February that sent James Harden to the Sixers, has yet to play a game in a Nets uniform.

The Aussie struggled his way out of Philadelphia because of a fractured relationship with 76ers coach Doc Rivers and teammate Joel Embiid.

The 25-year-old was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft. He averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game with the 76ers.

(with PAA)


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