Guard/forward Ben Simmons has a pretty good idea what awaits when the Nets visit the 76ers on Tuesday night.
“I know what’s coming. That’s part of the game,” Simmons said, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Philly fans, one thing about Philly fans is they are incredible. They are die-hard Philly and they are everything Philly, whatever it is. I respect that about the city. It’s a sports town. I was talking to I think (Yuta Watanabe) before the game about what it’s like to play in Philly, and it’s an incredible opportunity to put on whatever jersey it is.”
Simmons was traded from the Sixers to the Nets as part of the James Harden deal in February. He is coming off his best game with the 76ers, scoring 18 points in the Nets’ win over the Grizzlies on Sunday.
Despite what is sure to be a negative reaction (and likely then some), Simmons said he has no ill will toward Philadelphia fans.
“I was 18 years old coming into Philly, so it’s really the only place I’ve lived as an adult. So I have a lot of love for that city,” he said. “People don’t know that, but a lot of my best friends are from Philadelphia. My brother still lives in Philadelphia. So regardless of the situation, whatever happened, happened. But I got a lot of love for that city still, so I look forward to going down there and playing.”
- Star guard Kyrie Irving scored 14 points in that same game, his first game back after a suspension that last eight. “Felt good, felt good,” Irving told reporters. “Just missed my teammates, missed the coaching staff.”
- As an underrated aside, Watanabe has reached double figures in four straight games for the first time in his career.
- Meanwhile, Kevin Durant has scored at least 25 points in each of the first 17 games of the season. It’s the longest such streak since Warriors legend Rick Barry did it in 1966-67.