Nets Coach Sounds Off on Ben Simmons After Being Bested by Sixers

Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid

Getty Ben Simmons of the Brooklyn Nets and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia 76ers saw their former teammate Ben Simmons again when they played the Brooklyn Nets on January 25. Simmons did not fare too badly overall, scoring 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, but after being subbed out with nine minutes to go, Simmons was never re-inserted into the game.

Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn explained why the former Sixer didn’t come back in for the closing minutes of Philadelphia’s 137-133 win.

“So if you’re thinking about being aggressive, you will be aggressive. If you think about being a good teammate, you’ll be a good teammate. If you think about competing and playing hard, you do those things. You become what you think about,” Vaughn told reporters.

The Sixers were up by as many as 17 points against the Nets with 4:53 in the third quarter, but the Nets narrowed the gap by outscoring Philadelphia 35-30 in the fourth quarter. With 6 points from that point in the game, Simmons played a part in helping the Nets come back, but the team managed just fine offensively without him, managing to tie the game at 120 with 4:06 left in the game.

Ben Simmons’ Thoughts on Being Benched

After not being put back in the game against his former team in the fourth quarter, Simmons gave his thoughts on the matter.

“It is what it is,” Simmons told reporters next to his locker. “That’s coach’s decision. I can’t really control that. Obviously, for myself, I want to be out there.

“I really ain’t had no message from him, but I think it’s more so just whatever the team needs to win. If we’re winning, I have no problem with it, but if we’re losing, then I’ve got an issue with it.”

Simmons also talked about the difference in his approach from the first half, in which he scored no points, to the second half, in which he scored all 12 of his points.

“Just attacking until they stopped me, pushing the tempo, realizing we need some easy buckets,” Simmons said. “[In the first half, I was] trying to find my guys way too much. … Each game is gonna be different; we don’t have Kevin [Durant], so that was one of the major factors.”

With Durant out with an MCL injury, the Nets have had to depend on their other players like Simmons more due to his absence.

Joel Embiid’s Thoughts on Playing Against Simmons

Sixers star Joel Embiid was asked his thoughts on playing against Simmons, with whom he was teammates for six seasons in Philadelphia. Embiid said that to him, it doesn’t matter who was playing against him because his mindset is to score no matter who is covering him.

“Like every single night, I just fricking kill whoever’s in front of me. My mentality is always about scoring and if I get doubled, make the right pass, but if I get played one on one, I see an opportunity to go score. I’m gonna go score,” Embiid said, per Ky Carlin of SixersWire.

While talking about his mindset to score, Embiid also gave his thoughts about his performance against the Nets.

“If you look at the way I play, it doesn’t matter, whatever matchup every single night. Whoever’s in front of me, it’s always the same aggression, and it’s always the same aggression as far as trying to score the ball. Tonight, that was the same thing. I missed a lot of shots today, which hasn’t happened in a while, so I had a bad night. I’m happy we got the win,” Embiid said.

Even though he said his mindset remains the same no matter who he plays against, Embiid got into it a little bit with Simmons during the game.

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