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Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics

Ben Simmons on 76ers' late-game play: 'I got a lot of growing to do'

#Ben Simmons

Costly mistakes, unforced turnovers and some ordinary defence down the stretch let the Philadelphia 76ers down in their 101-98 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 3.

Aussie Ben Simmons wasn't immune as his putback shot attempt with 19.8 seconds remaining could have put Philly up three, instead, the Celtics got the ball back and made the Sixers pay.

Simmons coralled a rebound and put the shot straight back up, but with less than 20 seconds on the clock, many thought the Aussie would take the ball out to drain the clock or get fouled.

"I think it was just natural instinct," Simmons said of his shot attempt. "Right next to the rim, it's a shot I take every practice, every day, every game, I take one of those. I missed it.

"A lot of opportunities, a lot of mistakes we made, and it's frustrating when you know what the mistakes are, but we gotta come in tomorrow and lock in, it's going to be very hard."

Simmons turned the ball over again on an inbound pass to Joel Embiid with just 3.9 seconds remaining. Al Horford got the steal and foul, burying both shots to put the game to bed.

For a young team, closing out games is one of the most difficult things to do. We saw the Sixers struggle close games in the regular season, but with the magnified spotlight of the playoffs, Simmons acknowledged he must learn quickly.

"You know I got a lot of growing to do," Simmons told reporters post-game. "This is the first season I've played, the first time I've played in the playoffs, I'm learning a lot.

"It's a great opportunity for myself and the team and we're all learning together."

The Celtics are now one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals and with the likes of Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier playing some of their best basketball of the season, Simmons knows it won't be easy.

"Boston's a great team, they've been there before," Simmons added. "They've been in a situation where they got close to that next round and you know we want to get there too. Obviously, it's going to take a lot."

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