PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Butler wants Ben Simmons to become more aggressive offensively as the Sixers' series against the Raptors became a best-of-three following Sunday's 101-96 loss at Wells Fargo Center.
Simmons had his second straight quiet showing, finishing the game with just 10 points, five rebounds and four assists. Afterwards, Butler said he wants to see Simmons "attack" when the series moves back to Toronto for Game 5.
"I told him [Simmons] - every time down the floor to attack," Butler said post-game. "Every single time. If coach calls the play and you feel like you got the mismatch, by all means attack. And then if coach says 'Why'd you do it?' I promise you I will say 'I told him to do it'.
"I want Ben to be aggressive just like I want Jo [Embiid] to be aggressive. Attack. We're not gonna win without you guys. You have to be ready to attack it at any point in time. If he has the ball in transition, [I'm like] 'Ben, don't pass the ball in transition. Attack every single time'. That's how we're gonna win this game."
When asked post-game what he would have liked to have done better in regards to his shot selection, Simmons replied: "Made shots."
In the Sixers' first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, Simmons responded after a quiet Game 1, posting a triple-double in Game 2 before a dominant 31 point (84.6 percent from the field), nine assist and four rebound performance in Game 3, showing he's capable of being able to lock in and dominate when he has to.
On the nights when Simmons has been held, he's still been able to go out and impact the game defensively. In the first-round, coach Brett Brown praised the job Simmons did on D'Angelo Russell. In this series, he's taken on the challenge of trying to slow down Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard.
Judging by Leonard's point totals so far this series -- 45, 35, 33 and 39 -- one might be forgiven for thinking the Australian hasn't done a good enough job. But Simmons has made the Raptors forward work hard for his points.
"His individual offensive brilliance is daunting, haunting, pick whatever words you want to say," Sixers coach Brown said of Leonard following Game 3. "You're sitting there and you've got a 6'10 athlete like Ben on him, and he's busting his tail to try do a good job, and he just makes tough shots."
Leonard said Simmons has been making him work for the looks he's been getting.
"He's doing a great job, he's being aggressive," Leonard said. "He's taken the challenge."
Sixers forward James Ennis believes Simmons will bounce back strongly again in Toronto, just like he did in Brooklyn.
"He played hard defense, he gave Kawhi a good challenge," Ennis said. "Kawhi's a top-five player in the NBA [and] he doesn't miss often. Since Ben's been on him, he's been making Kawhi work a lot. Ben's going to find his rhythm. Next game you'll see Ben come in to his own."
If the Sixers are to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2001, they will need to win at least one game in Toronto. Simmons believes they should keep the same focus, despite Sunday's loss.
"Mentality stays the same: get out there and get a win," he said. "You never let the highs get too high or the lows get too low. It's onto the next game. We still have an amazing opportunity to go to the Eastern Conference championship get to the NBA Finals. We are looking forward to it."