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Brooklyn Nets Face 4th Consecutive Defeat As Ben Simmons Struggles to Perform

Brooklyn Nets (Photo: NBA)

Brooklyn Nets forward Ben Simmons faced ongoing challenges during a 117-112 defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night, culminating in his ejection after just 18 minutes of play for disputing with referee Eric Lewis.

The loss marked the Nets’ fourth consecutive defeat, exacerbated by the absence of star forward Kevin Durant, sidelined for several more weeks due to an MCL sprain in his right knee.

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn acknowledged Simmons’ struggles encompassing both offensive and defensive aspects of the game.

“We need him to be productive, avoiding fouls, contributing to our rebounding efforts, playing with composure, and pushing the pace,” Vaughn emphasized. “Being a top-level player comes with extensive responsibilities. We will continue challenging him and our team to meet those expectations.”

Simmons, who recently achieved his first triple-double with the Nets against the San Antonio Spurs, encountered foul trouble throughout Thursday’s game, concluding with seven points, four rebounds, six assists, and four turnovers.

His performance underscored a recurring pattern of inconsistency this season, punctuated by multiple injuries that have sidelined him for 11 games.

After picking up his fifth foul early in the third quarter against the Suns, Simmons voiced frustration with officiating decisions regarding screens and subsequently received two technical fouls in quick succession, leading to his ejection.

Ben Simmons (Photo: Frank Franklin II)

Post-game, he opted not to go into specifics regarding the incident to avoid further fines.

“I don’t want to say anything because I’m not looking to get fined again,” Simmons remarked.

Regarding officiating consistency, Simmons pointed out discrepancies he perceived in how the game was called, particularly regarding screens and holding fouls.

“If you’re going to make those calls, you have to do it consistently,” he stated. “It’s been like this all year. If you call one thing, you have to do it on both ends.”

Beyond the immediate game impact, Simmons’ performance remains a concern for the Nets, who had high expectations following his acquisition from the Philadelphia 76ers last year.

Despite flashes of brilliance, Simmons’ ability to contribute consistently at an All-Star level has been hindered by injuries and erratic play.

As the Nets strive to reverse their losing streak and prepare for upcoming games against tough opponents like the Utah Jazz and Simmons’ former team, the 76ers, Vaughn expressed optimism that continued film study and dialogue with the coaching staff will help Simmons rediscover his form.

Meanwhile, Nets guard Kyrie Irving emphasized the importance of bolstering Simmons’ confidence amidst challenges.

“We’ve been giving him a lot of confidence,” Irving affirmed. “He’s a talented player, and he understands his role. In this stretch, his presence in every game will be crucial.”

Reflecting on Simmons’ ejection, Irving added, “Tempers can flare, disagreements happen with officials, but Ben knows the bigger picture and the importance of his role on this team.”

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