Ben Simmons blinks in NBA rookie playoff race

Though the rookie of the year voting has already been completed, and the winner between Donovan Mitchell and Ben Simmons won’t be announced until the NBA’s yearly award show in late June, the second round of the playoffs may be the first signs of the public opinion tilting in Mitchell’s favor.

On Wednesday, Mitchell helped lead the Jazz to a 116-108 victory over the top seeded Houston Rockets in game two of the Western Conference Semifinals, with the series returning to Salt Lake City evened up at one apiece. Though Mitchell struggled shooting the ball, finishing with with 17 points on 6-21 shooting, he achieved a career high in assists, recording 11 dimes filling in for Ricky Rubio as the team’s starting point guard. He led the Jazz with a +13.

On Thursday night, Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers dropped their second consecutive game to the dramatically undermanned Boston Celtics, and now return to Philadelphia down 2-0 in the series. When Philly needed Simmons most, he was nowhere to be found. Simmons finished game two with 1 point, missing all four of his shot attempts, five rebounds, seven assists and five turnovers. His -23 was a career high. The 76ers and the Celtics return to actions Saturday night in a must win for Philly.

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