Ben Simmons Calls Out Sixers Fans After Return to Philly

Ben Simmons, Sixers

Getty Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets controls the ball against Tobias Harris #12 and Paul Reed #44 of the Philadelphia 76ers in the fourth quarter of the game at the Wells Fargo Center on November 22, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Nets 115-106.

There was plenty of hype surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers’ matchup with the Brooklyn Nets as Ben Simmons made his return to his former city. Some of the allure was lost going in as Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey each missed the game with their variations of foot injuries. Despite many counting them out, the shorthanded Sixers put forth one of the most impressive performances in recent Sixers history and cruised to a 115-106 victory.

Simmons did not patch up the hurt feelings following the matchup. When speaking to the media he put it, “I thought it was going to be louder,” per Nick Friedell of ESPN.

Simmons Play

It was clear from the opening tip that this matchup meant plenty to Simmons in addition to Sixers fans. He played with greater aggression than has been seen for most of the season as well as the ending of his time in Philadelphia. Simmons ended the matchup with 11 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds, three steals, and three blocks in his 31 minutes of play. He shot 4-7 from the field and 3-6 at the free-throw line including missing a pair of free-throws in the second half to provide the Philadelphia faithful with some free Chick-Fil-A.

It was an overall solid game from Simmons, but also showed the same flaws that Sixers fans are well aware of. In the fourth quarter, he tallied 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, and one foul. He also struggles greatly when the Sixers switched to a zone which was also a theme during his tenure with the team.

There were plenty of theatrics to Simmons’ performance as well. The former number-one overall pick was sent to the free-throw line in the first quarter. He connected on both of these attempts and hit a Jordan-like shrug when jogging back. Simmons also shushed the crowd after a layup and was more expressive overall than is typically the case.

Sixers Step Up In Matchup

While Simmons may catch the headlines, the story of this game was the performance of the 76ers. Despite being extremely shorthanded, the team was locked in from the opening tip and refused to lose the game.

Tobias Harris led the team in scoring with 24 points in addition to six rebounds and three assists. There was a concerning moment where Harris looked as if he would be the next Sixer joining the injury report after rolling his ankle in the third quarter. The veteran was in serious pain and went to the locker room shortly after. Despite leaving with a notable limp, Harris returned to the game shortly after and put forth a strong performance to finish the game.

Harris was not the only Sixers to impress in the matchup. Paul Reed put forth what was likely the most impressive performance of his professional career. Reed ended with 19 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. He also was a team-high +21 in the matchup.

Both Shake Milton and De’Anthony Melton also shined in the matchup. Melton was especially impactful due to his two-way ability and finished the game with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block. He also shot an impressive 6-11 from beyond the three-point arc. Milton added 16 points of his own as well as six rebounds and five assists.

No player embodied Philadelphia as much as Georges Niang. The 29-year-old capitalized on every opportunity to talk some trash including getting into it with Simmons and Kevin Durant. He also added 16 points, five rebounds, and two assists while connecting on four of his dive three-point attempts. Niang left it all on the court and was crucial to the Sixers’ success.

It was an overall team effort in which the Sixers picked up a victory in the most improbable of circumstances. They have now moved to 9-8 on the season and are above .500 for the first time this season. Philadelphia will not reach its peak until the return of its main stars, but this type of fight is what must be seen regularly.

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