The Washington Wizards may have lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, but Bradley Beal believes they played a legitimate role in exposing Sixers star Ben Simmons to the Atlanta Hawks.
In a recent chat with CBS Sports, Beal was asked about losing to the Sixers and then seeing the same team struggle against Hawks in the following round. While the Wizards scorer acknowledged that they are two different series, he shared his belief they “exposed” the move of fouling Simmons–or what had been known as the hack-a-ben strategy. The 28-year-old NBA veteran also noted that Simmons’ level of play “died down” from their series to the Hawks’.
“Obviously when Joel [Embiid] got hurt, that was the game that we ended up winning. And we felt like we should have won the next game, but they just wanted it a little bit more than we did. And Joel didn’t even play that game. But at the same time we kind of exposed the move of fouling Ben [Simmons], putting him on the line a few times,” Beal shared.
“Granted, I think in our series he actually made a few. So, we had to go away from that instead of just giving away free points. But they were two totally different series, two totally different teams. Ben was more or less aggressive in our series, the first couple games, and then it kind of died down and trickled down from there. Atlanta was a good team, too. They played hard. They have a lot of young pieces over there who are really versatile. They’re not just a one-dimensional team. It was very tough. Joel had to do a lot. “
Bradley Beal is not entirely wrong, though. The Wizards did help in exposing Ben Simmons’ glaring weakness, and it surely motivated the Hawks to use the hack-a-Ben strategy more often than not.
Although Simmons can have a good time shooting from the charity stripe, the Wizards proved in Game 4 of their series with the Sixers that they can exploit it. In the said contest, the Aussie playmaker made just five of his 11 freebies.
Of course, Simmons’ lack of aggressiveness against the Hawks was the key reason that doomed Philly. However, his free throw shooting certainly did not help.
Read More: Bradley Beal hits Ben Simmons with playoffs truth bomb 2021-07-19 04:30:48