Luka Doncic unbothered by Ben Simmons’ defensive prowess
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic was limited to just 19 points in their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday. Analysts credited Ben Simmons for containing Doncic way below his averages. But as far as Doncic is concerned, he just had a bad game. It had nothing to do with Simmons.
Per Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Doncic admitted he doesn’t really care who’s defending him. All he cares about is getting to his spots and getting his teammates involved.
Luka Doncic, asked about Ben Simmons' defensive prowess: "I don't really pay attention to who's on me. I just try to play my game. Sometimes I'm gonna play it better, sometimes worse."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 26, 2021
It’s an interesting answer given that almost everyone considers Simmons one hell of a defensive player. Simmons did lead the NBA in steals last season and was also selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team. Simmons himself believes he’s a stellar and versatile defender.
“I’m the best defensive player in the league. I can guard 1 through 5.”
– Ben Simmons on his defense. 🔐
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 26, 2021
In the 76ers’ 111-97 win over the Mavericks, Simmons matched up with Doncic for most of the game. Doncic finished with 19 points, a pretty productive night no matter where you look at it. But this is way below his average of 28.9 points per game. He only shot 6-of-13 from the field, including 3-of-6 from deep. Doncic also had seven turnovers.
Is this a budding rivalry between Simmons and Doncic? The soft-spoken Mavericks superstar rarely flexes his skills during interviews. But after the Sixers game, it seems that he’s either unbothered by Simmons’ defense or completely irritated by it.
Be as it may, fans should look forward to the next duel between the two All-Stars. After all, Luka Doncic has proven that he’s a fierce competitor. It is for certain that he’ll want to get his revenge on Ben Simmons.