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Ben Simmons makes his long-awaited return to Philadelphia

Ben Simmons will play (what’s left of) the Sixers for the first time as the Nets visit the Wells Fargo Center.

Memphis Grizzlies v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sixers are set to face off against the Brooklyn Nets, including Ben Simmons who was traded just nine months ago in a blockbuster deal for James Harden.

This has been a game circled on many people’s calendars since the schedule was announced. Unfortunately, it won’t quite be what many anticipated as the Sixers’ injury report is quite long.

The Sixers will be without three of their starting five. James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Joel Embiid, who suffered a left mid-foot sprain in the Timberwolves game, are all out. The Sixers announced that they’ll be without Embiid for this back-to-back against the Nets and Charlotte Hornets.

Some much-needed positive injury news: Tobias Harris and Furkan Korkmaz are listed as probable ahead of Tuesday’s Brooklyn game. Harris has been dealing with hip soreness while Korkmaz was dealing with knee effusion.

On the Nets’ side of things, it seems like things are finally starting to clear up from an availability perspective. Kyrie Irving, who served a multi-game suspension, is back on the court (for now at least). Simmons, who’s been dealing with knee pain on and off this season, is expected to be available.

Unsurprisingly, the Nets have somewhat been a dumpster fire so far this season. Steve Nash is long gone, with now former-assistant coach Jacque Vaughn stepping in. They almost hired Celtics coach Ime Udoka, who is currently serving a year-long suspension. Irving doubled down on his anti-semitic comments, leading to a suspension. Irving has since apologized and returned to the lineup. Reports have been flying around about the Nets being frustrated with Simmons. The list goes on and on with this team.

Speaking of our old friend, Simmons appears to have found a groove. He’s coming off two solid performances; averaging 18.5 points, 6 assists, and 10.5 rebounds across a two-game span. He’s still averaging a career-high in fouls, but it’s by far the best he’s looked in a long time.

The Nets’ talent has carried them to a respectable 8-9 record despite all the drama surrounding them. They currently rank 13th in offensive rating and have the 19th-best defensive rating in the NBA — both respectable.

The Sixers’ offense has fallen off with their long list of injuries as expected. They sit at 17 in offensive rating, but still rank within the top five in defensive rating — mostly thanks to Joel Embiid carrying the load.

The shorthanded Sixers are even more depleted, and players will need to step up for them to not get run off the court. Harris returning should help, and they can only hope that Shake Milton continues to put up numbers as he comes off a 27-point performance.

Head coach Doc Rivers has received lots of criticism this season, but the one thing that most people will agree on is he’s able to get the most out of a shorthanded roster. Everyone will need to step up if they have any hope of getting their early-season revenge on Ben Simmons.

Game Details

Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets

When: 7:30 pm ET

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Watch: TNT

Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Follow: @LibertyBallers

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