January 27, 2023

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Brooklyn Nets ahead Ben Simmons’ struggles continued throughout a 117-112 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday evening by which he was ejected for arguing with referee Eric Lewis after enjoying simply 18 minutes.

The loss was the fourth straight for the Nets, who proceed to flounder with out star ahead Kevin Durant, who’s out for a number of extra weeks due to an MCL sprain in his proper knee.

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn, when requested how the workforce might get Simmons again on observe, identified that his struggles are approaching “each side of the basketball.”

“We’d like him to be productive, and that’s with out the fouls,” Vaughn stated. “That’s serving to us rebound the basketball. That’s enjoying with poise and composure. That’s pushing the tempo for us.

“So sadly once you’re a extremely good basketball participant, your checklist is lengthy and so are the obligations. And hopefully, we’ll proceed to ask of these issues and problem him and problem this group to have the ability to reply these lengthy lists.”

After racking up his first triple-double as a Internet in Tuesday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Simmons spent Thursday’s recreation mired in foul hassle and completed with seven factors, 4 rebounds, six assists and 4 turnovers. It has been a repeated sample of inconsistency for the previous All-Star, who has missed 11 video games this season due to numerous accidents.

After being referred to as for his fifth foul with 8:47 left within the third quarter, Simmons continued chirping at Lewis and was rapidly whistled for 2 technicals within the span of some seconds. After the sport, he declined to enter particulars in regards to the sequence.

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“I don’t wish to say nothing as a result of I ain’t making an attempt to get one other fantastic,” Simmons stated.

Simmons stated he believed he wasn’t getting a constant whistle all through the sport on how screens have been being set.

“I feel when you’re going to name the sport like that, then you definitely obtained to be constant,” he stated. “I feel it’s been like that every one 12 months. For those who’re going to name a transferring again, then you definitely obtained to be constant [on] each ends. Identical with the holding.”

Other than Simmons’ efficiency in Thursday’s recreation, the bigger difficulty for the Nets is that he hasn’t been the All-Star-caliber participant the group thought it was getting when it traded for him simply earlier than final February’s deadline in a deal that despatched James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons has proven flashes of his previous play, however his incapacity to remain on the ground and contribute at a excessive degree has change into problematic because the season has worn on.

Whereas Vaughn stays hopeful that Simmons will discover his method with extra movie work and an ongoing dialogue with the teaching employees, Simmons’ flaws have gotten extra obvious because the Nets attempt to flip issues round with out Durant. The Nets go into Friday’s recreation towards the Utah Jazz having misplaced 4 straight and have street video games with the Golden State Warriors and Simmons’ previous workforce, the 76ers, after that.

Simmons is averaging simply 7.5 factors, 6.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists to this point this 12 months. So what else can the Nets do to get him going once more?

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“Identical factor we’ve been doing is simply give him a ton of confidence,” Nets guard Kyrie Irving stated. “But in addition realizing that he’s mature sufficient to deal with himself. He’s a really proficient basketball participant, and we might title all of the superlatives, however we want him within the recreation and I feel he understands that, particularly throughout this stretch we’re going to want him in each recreation.

“I’ve gotten ejected earlier than solely as soon as in my profession. Tempers flare, you disagree with the refs, however the huge image is a very powerful factor, and on this workforce, I feel Ben realizes that. However tonight, simply his feelings obtained the perfect of him.”

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