Boston Celtics

Apr 23, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons (10) watches from the bench in the first quarter against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

After a season of uncertainty surrounding his availability, the Brooklyn Nets thought Ben Simmons would be available when the series with the Celtics shifted back to Barclays Center. The Nets will need a win on Monday night to give Simmons another chance after ruling him out for Game 4.

  • Simmons’ decision to sit out Game 4 marks another chapter in a rollercoaster season, from his trade out of Philadelphia to his absence on the court since joining the Nets. The announcement sparked emphatic reactions from some of basketball’s largest media figures, including high-profile ex-players.

    Stephen A. Smith

    The always-outspoken Smith questioned Simmons’ effort to play, and the ramifications it could have for players across the NBA in the future, during ESPN’s playoff coverage on Sunday night.

    “This is one of the most pathetic situations that I have ever seen in my life,” Smith said on Simmons. “He ain’t going to war. He ain’t going in the Octagon. He’s not going in the boxing ring. It’s pulling teeth to get this man to play basketball.

    “It’s pathetic, it’s sad, and at the end of the day, when the NBA gets in the collective bargaining table, and they go after the players in terms of a ‘pay-for-play’ stipulation in the collective bargaining agreement, it’s going to be called the ‘Ben Simmons rule.'”

  • Reggie Miller

    Miller, a Hall of Famer and of the NBA’s most prolific three-point shooters in history, took to Twitter to express his frustration on Simmons not returning to the court for Brooklyn’s effort to come back in the series against the Celtics.

  • Kendrick Perkins

    Former Celtics center and TV analyst Kendrick Perkins also called out Simmons on Twitter for not playing throughout the season over his financial disputes in Philadelphia and his back issues with the Nets. Simmons is on the books to make over $30 million this season.

  • The Celtics, meanwhile, got starting center Robert Williams back in Game 3, while Simmons watched in street clothes from the Nets’ bench. Williams played 15:34 off the bench and scored two points to go with two rebounds and one blocked shot.

    Game 4 between the Celtics and Nets takes place Monday night at 7 p.m. ET. You can get the call of the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub, starting with pregame coverage at 6:30.