The Philadelphia 76ers mustered quite a successful season after being mired in the bottom of the Eastern Conference during the past few years, but ultimately were stopped rather easily by a young, but hungry Boston Celtics team.
The Celtics are the next item on Ben Simmons’ agenda, hoping to topple the favorite to take over a wide-open East.
“We’ve got to get past Boston, those are the guys at the top right now. Beating them, that’s our next goal,” Simmons told NBA Australia’s James McKern.
“Obviously getting further than the second round and winning the Eastern Conference Finals and then moving on to The Finals (are the team’s other goals).”
The Australian international had a magnificent showing in his rookie season, putting up 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game — enough to warrant the Rookie of the Year award a year late after sitting out in 2016-17 with a foot injury.
Yet Simmons still remembers being limited to one point in Game 2 of the series against the Celtics in a pivotal contest that would have kept the Sixers from eventually going down 3-0 in the series.
In order to get past the Celtics, Simmons and company will have to be near-flawless this time around, as Boston is expected to counter with their two biggest stars in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward; both fully healthy after missing the postseason with season-ending injuries.