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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler calls for Ben Simmons to be more aggressive: 'Attack every single time'

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(NBA Getty Images)

The Philadelphia 76ers 101-96 Game 4 loss to the Toronto Raptors marked another quiet offensive output by Ben Simmons, who finished the game with 10 points and four assists.

4 TAKEAWAYS: Leonard scores 39 points as Raptors grind out Game 4 win

Through four games in this series, Simmons is averaging 10 points and 4.8 assists, down significantly on the 17.2 points and 7.6 assists he averaged in the first round series against the Brooklyn Nets.

After the loss - Jimmy Butler had some words of encouragement for Simmons when asked about his performance on the offensive end - delivering a message to his point guard - attack.

"If you ask Ben, I told him every time down the floor to attack," Butler said in the post-game media conference. "Every single time."

"I'm cool with, 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."

In the Brooklyn series, Simmons was heralded for his aggressiveness on the offensive end, regularly attacking the rim and taking his defenders off the dribble.

"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."

One of the main reasons that Simmons' offensive output could be down is the energy he's excerpting on the defensive end of the floor. In this series, Simmons has been tasked with the toughest assignment - guarding Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard has looked like he's from another planet this series, averaging 38 points per game whilst shooting 62% from the field. And Simmons has actually been doing a pretty good job on him, which Kawhi acknowledged post-game.

"He's doing a great job, he's being aggressive," Leonard said. "He's taken the challenge. Like I've said before, it's not just about me and him on the floor, I'm trying to beat the whole Sixers team. They're doing a great job throwing bodies at me, I turned the ball over a few times tonight.

Simmons' teammate James Ennis echoed Kawhi's comments after the game, highlighting the energy that Simmons has spent shadowing Toronto's leading man.

"[Simmons] played hard defence, he gave Kawhi a good challenge," Ennis told NBA.com.

"Kawhi's a top-five player in the NBA, he doesn't miss often. Since Ben's been on him, he's been making Kawhi work a lot. So Ben's going to find his rhythm. Next game you'll see Ben coming to his own."

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