PHILADELPHIA — A five-piece Chick-fil-a nuggets and a hoarse voice field.
To not point out an unlikely 115-106 win over the Nets in a sport the place Philly’s three finest gamers every sat with foot accidents.
After 76ers followers mercilessly booed star forward Ben Simmons from the pregame warmups to the ultimate buzzer in his first sport again on the Wells Fargo Middle since the blockbuster James Harden deal, they left the sector with a five-piece rooster nugget coupon — rewarded after Simmons missed back-to-back free throws — and a strained discuss field for his or her troubles after handing the Nets one in all their most disappointing losses in a season chock stuffed with them.
The Sixers had been with out Joel Embiid, James Harden and budding star Tyrese Maxey. The Nets, who’re as shut to totally wholesome as they’ve been all season, had been 7.5-point favorites.
That every one went out the window as soon as the sport turned in regards to the villain.
Forty minutes after Simmons spent prolonged time signing paraphernalia for an early group of followers who cheered him by his pregame particular person exercise routine, the opposite 99% of followers within the area booed the star ahead who as soon as wore their jersey.
The booing started 20 minutes earlier than tipoff when Simmons darted onto the ground for the layup traces.
It was deafening. It was relentless. It was the pent-up vitriol the rabid fan base preserved particularly for the second Simmons stepped foot onto the Wells Fargo Middle flooring as an energetic opponent, with the one cheers coming when he made a foul play or dedicated a foul.
On quite a lot of events, followers chanted “F–k Ben Simmons,” together with in rubbish time, as Simmons watched from the sidelines.
And it was anticipated, to say the least.
The Sixers fan response to Simmons’ return to to Philly was the worst-kept secret in all of sports activities for the week. Area employees questioned if followers would cross any traces. Simmons, himself, joked Sixers followers would by no means let a season away from the courtroom deter them from heckling him all night time.
“In Philly?!” he mentioned with a face that went viral. “Come on now. I do know what’s coming. Philly followers, one factor about them: They’re unbelievable.”
Simmons first obtained a style as an inactive participant on the Nets’ roster throughout their March 10 journey to Philadelphia final season.
That day, the booing began outdoors the Nets crew lodge.
This, nonetheless, was totally different. It’s totally different getting booed as a spectator versus an energetic participant. It hits totally different when the boos come each time you contact the ball, regardless of how fleeting the contact is perhaps.
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It hits totally different when these boos come for a poor free throw shooter each time he’s as much as the charity stripe.
It hits totally different when these boos ultimately compound into momentum for the house crew.
The Nets led by eight however ultimately surrendered their benefit and trailed by as many as 16 factors.
And because the wheels fell off because of the Nets’ incapacity to get stops in opposition to a severely brief handed Sixers squad, it turned clear the boos had been the least of Brooklyn’s issues.
The Nets couldn’t cease Tobias Harris, who’s the fourth finest participant on a stacked Sixers roster. They couldn’t maintain both of Philly’s backup bigs Montrezl Harrell or Paul Reed off the boards or out of the paint. They couldn’t comprise Philly’s backup guards, Shake Milton or De’Anthony Melton.
And whereas Simmons continued to point out progress in his willingness to assault the rim, his defensive depth and the athleticism that was hampered on account of low season again surgical procedure, the Nets nonetheless appeared discombobulated.
They nonetheless have a great deal of work to do.