Mitchell defends Simmons: Every player has that night

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It makes a ton of sense to give the NBA's Rookie of the Year award to Donovan Mitchell.

But the chant served another goal, if read in a properly incredulous tone. We were supposed to be examining Tatum vs. Fultz, and the various ways the teams benefitted from the deal - the pros and cons of taking a star lead guard in a league dominated by lead guards vs. taking the versatile wing in a league desperate for versatile wings.

Twenty-year-old rookies aren't supposed to have the kind of night Tatum delivered in a 117-101 demolition of the 76ers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Simmons had 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the loss to the Celtics.

"Loved it", said teammate Marcus Smart.

Still serviceable numbers, but ones that even Shaq would agree with weren't acceptable when his team needed him the most. "My time here in Utah has been invaluable and we are in the middle of an important playoff run with a very special group of players and coaches who deserve my full attention".

The Boston fans, treated to green "BEAT PHILA t-shirts, showed they dislike the Sixers just as much as Philly fans dislike the Celtics".

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Meanwhile, Tatum got whatever he wanted.

"It didn't bother me", Embiid said of the crowd. "I think he's had an exceptional year". Tonight he scored in a variety of ways.

Still, if The Dragon's tweet shortly after the Sixers' defeat is to be believed, he's more sold with Donovan Mitchell as the Rookie of The Year.

"No comment", he said, turning away with a wide smile.

The 13th pick of this year's draft shell shocked the league with his high scoring antics, leading all first year players in scoring with 20.5 points per game. Bird set the franchise record with 34 points against the Rockets in 1980.

"Obviously they have a game plan - I know what their game plan is - and I've gotta play my game", he said. With both having enough young players to expect continued growth, there has been a rampaging assumption that the two operations will be regular playoff opponents. "Jayson, the way he can score the ball, Ben, the way he facilitates and finds guys". It's hard to say who's better. They were not at their best after almost a week without a game, and it particularly showed around the three-point arc.

The matchup with Simmons wasn't the only juxtaposition worth considering. Good players respond back, and it's a testament to his character. "[He] made some tough shots, but also got to the rim and made some plays for us". The Celtics repeatedly sought out certain mismatches - Marco Belinelli might have gotten it the worst - and one of the chief searchers was Tatum. Just imagine how good he's going to be when he's no longer a rookie.

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