Down 0-2 to the Celtics, and with the Boston defense finding ways to keep Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in relative check, the Brooklyn Nets need something to change the dynamic of this series or they will be on vacation soon.
Can Ben Simmons be that boost?
Building on reports of him working his way back to play from a herniated disc in his back, Shams Charania of The Athletic says Simmons plans to play in Game 4 against the Celtics next Monday.
Brooklyn Nets three-time All-Star Ben Simmons plans to make his season debut in Game 4 vs. Boston on Monday as long as rehab remains on course, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Simmons is set to play his first game since June 2021.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 21, 2022
That follows yesterday’s report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that Monday was the “realistic target.”
Simmons hasn’t been ruled out for Game 3 of the first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, sources said, but there are still more hurdles Simmons would be required to clear in a much shorter window of time for him to be ready to play in Saturday’s game in Brooklyn, sources told ESPN.
Is Simmons the boost the Celtics need?
On paper he brings some athleticism, another shot creator, and most importantly defense to the table — all things the Nets could use against the Celtics. But Simmons has not played one second of NBA basketball since last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, he is not a shooter, his offensive game is not plug-and-play (and the Celtics will help off him and dare him to shoot), and Simmons struggled with pressure during last season’s playoffs and now would be thrown into the most physical, intense and high-pressure game of the season. Is Simmons going to be enough of a boost for Brooklyn?
With or without Simmons, the Nets need to get their stars going in Game 3 against a Celtics team gaining confidence, or Simmons’ debut will be just a footnote in this series.