PHILADELPHIA — — Ben Simmons shrugged off the boos that rose out of the Philly crowd every time the mercurial guard dealt with the ball.
The Nets guard even egged on followers yet one more time over their reception in the direction of one of the vital loathed former Philly stars in sports activities historical past.
“I believed it was going to be louder,” Simmons mentioned.
Tobias Harris scored 24 factors and a spirited Philadelphia 76ers staff enjoying with out Joel Embiid and James Harden spoiled Simmons’ homecoming with a 115-106 win over Brooklyn on Tuesday night time.
“I really feel like it is a large win for us,” Harris mentioned. “I knew going into the sport we have been all going to come back out with one of these vitality and one of these buzz to rise up to play.”
There was loads of buzz from the time the doorways opened in anticipation of Simmons’ return. He had 11 factors, 11 assists and 7 rebounds to the tune of regular boos. Simmons even had a late-recreation fade acquainted to the Sixers. He did not take a shot, was scoreless within the fourth quarter and scored solely two factors within the second half.
Kyrie Irving scored 23 factors and Kevin Durant had 20 earlier than coach Jacque Vaughn pulled his beginning lineup with 3 minutes left within the recreation.
“Everybody desires to see our staff fail,” Durant mentioned. “Nobody likes Ben. Nobody likes Ky. Nobody likes me.”
The anticipated marquee matchup was dimmed with Embiid out with a sprained left foot, Harden nonetheless out with a tendon pressure in his proper foot and beginning guard Tyrese Maxey additionally out with a damaged left foot.
Embiid vs. Simmons should wait.
Simmons vs. 76ers followers have been fairly good.
Simmons was heckled, drew a flagrant foul, shushed a sellout crowd of 20,184 on a layup, and even Jordan-shrugged after hitting free throws. Of most significance for a participant who has battled psychological well being points, Simmons performed with poise as boos rained on him for the majority of his 32 minutes.
“I really feel like I’m in a very good place,” Simmons mentioned. “I’m blissful. I do what I really like. To be on the market and have that have was superb.”
He already had three assists when he went to the free-throw line early within the recreation. Simmons was booed however by no means appeared rattled and sank each baskets. Simmons had a reverse layup minutes later for his first bucket.
Sixers followers have been principally properly-behaved — save for a few quick-lived “(expletive) Ben Simmons!” chants — and principally saved the 4-letter phrases for tape on the again of their previous No. 25 jerseys.
Simmons and second-yr Sixer Georges Niang tussled late within the first half and Niang gave his former teammate a lightweight stiff-arm to the physique that earned a technical foul.
Harden could not consider the decision from the bench. Sixers proprietor Josh Harris appeared appalled.
Simmons missed the technical free throw and the group roared as a lot because it did all recreation. Simmons, although, hit the court docket for a steal and knocked the unfastened ball to Durant for a bucket.
The Sixers nonetheless took a 63-57 lead into the break.
It wasn’t all jeers, all recreation. Simmons did make 76ers followers go wild over him when he missed consecutive free throws within the second half and triggered a free quick-meals rooster promotion.
“I believed he was in assault mode, he was aggressive, confirmed loads of poise all through the course of the night time,” Vaughn mentioned. “The expertise to get via and get it behind him, actually good.”
Simmons averaged 15.9 factors, 8.1 rebounds and seven.7 assists over 4 seasons with Philadelphia, which drafted him out of LSU, the place he performed just one season. His omnipresent complications, equivalent to his refusal to shoot past 15 ft, outweighed his in any other case gifted defensive and playmaking abilities. Simmons’ relationship with the Sixers deteriorated following the 2021 playoffs and he demanded a commerce.
Simmons made a shock return to the Sixers shortly earlier than final season opened however was promptly kicked out of shape and suspended for one recreation. The punishment did not matter; the no. 1 decide of the 2016 draft by no means had any intention of enjoying.
Simmons hugged Rivers within the handshake line and met with family and friends sitting on the baseline earlier than he headed for the customer’s tunnel — and one remaining refrain of boos.
“I believe it will be like this without end,” Simmons mentioned. “I actually do not see it altering.”
Nets: Seth Curry scored 14 factors. He was concerned within the Simmons commerce however his half within the deal was a bit extra private. He is 76ers coach Doc Rivers’ son-in-regulation. … PJ Tucker was scoreless for the fourth straight recreation, giving him the longest streak of video games with no less than 25 minutes performed and 0 factors scored in NBA historical past.
76ers: Harris grabbed his proper ankle and hobbled to the locker room within the third quarter. He gave Sixers followers a scare however returned and hit a jumper that made it 85-82.
Nets: Continue a 3-recreation journey Wednesday at Toronto and Friday at Indiana.
76ers: Embiid will miss Wednesday’s recreation at Charlotte.