Ben Simmons will play against his old team, the Philadelphia 76ers for first time on Tuesday night. After being traded to the Nets at the trade deadline in February last season, Simmons did not play at all, so he was not available for the Brooklyn-Philadelphia meetings then.
Simmons is playing on Tuesday night, and the game is in Philadelphia.
Although the city is named “The City of Brotherly Love,” the crowds in Philadelphia have a reputation for being hostile. Fans in Philly have booed Simmons when he played for them and when he was on the bench for the Nets. NBA analyst Shams Charania discussed how fans would react on FanDuel TV:
“He was getting booed even on the bench. … I can only imagine what the environment’s gonna be like when he’s actually going to suit up tonight and play.”
The Sixers (8-8) are going to need their fans to be a distraction tonight. They will be without their three best players. Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey will all not be available. The Nets (8-9) will come in with Simmons and Kevin Durant and this will be Kyrie Irving’s second game back from suspension.
Brooklyn is currently in last place in the Atlantic Division, half a game behind the Sixers. A win would move the Nets’ record to .500 and put them ahead of Philadelphia.
Ben Simmons playing well
Ben Simmons is returning to Philly while he is on a roll. Simmons has had the best three-game stretch of his time in Brooklyn. He is averaging 16.0 points, 5.0 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game over his last three contests. That includes his 22-point season high in the Nets’ last game, a 127-115 win on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
This could be a good time for Simmons to return to Philadelphia and face his old team. The Sixers will be without Joel Embiid, meaning that they will be short on rim protection to keep him from driving to the basket. The team doesn’t have any major offensive threat outside of Tobias Harris, of whom Simmons may guard most of his time on the floor.
The Nets could continue to build on something with a win tonight against Philadelphia. It would be their season-best third straight win and bring the team’s record to .500. If the Nets can have a healthy Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons, they can begin to look like the contender that fans and media thought they could be before the season started.