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Vaughn: Nets need Simmons 'to be productive' after ejection

Chris Coduto / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn made it clear following Thursday's loss to the Phoenix Suns that he expects much more out of Ben Simmons.

The Nets star was ejected in the team's 117-112 loss - Brooklyn's fourth straight defeat - after recording just seven points, four rebounds, and six assists.

"We need him to be productive, and that is without the fouls," he told reporters, including ESPN's Nick Friedell. "That is helping us rebound the basketball. That is playing with poise and composure. That is pushing the pace for us."

Simmons was tossed from the contest after arguing his fifth foul with referee Eric Lewis, though he declined to elaborate on the situation.

"I don't want to say nothing because I ain't trying to get another fine. ... I think if you're going to call the game like that, then you got to be consistent," Simmons said.

Simmons' shaky performance comes after he picked up his first triple-double as a Net on Tuesday, dropping 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. However, he was a late scratch Sunday due to back soreness and scored zero points last Thursday for the second time this season.

Simmons has failed to replace any of Kevin Durant's scoring load with the superstar out due to a knee injury. He's only made seven total field goals in the last three contests he's played without Durant, all losses.

With Brooklyn falling to fourth in the Eastern Conference, just ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, fellow Nets star Kyrie Irving is emphasizing the importance of having Simmons at the top of his game.

"He's a very talented basketball player," Irving said. "We could name all the superlatives, but we need him in the game, and I think he understands that, especially during this stretch, we're going to need him in every game."

The Nets will look to get back in the win column on the road against the Utah Jazz on Friday night.

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