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Ben Simmons provides free chicken nuggets as plucky Sixers upset Nets

Ben Simmons took the Wells Fargo Center floor, but it was the undermanned Sixers that looked like the fired-up bunch in a win over the Nets.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

These Hospital Sixers sure have some fight, don’t they. Ben Simmons and the Brooklyn Nets came to town to take on a Sixers team down Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, and fell by a score of 115-106. Tobias Harris shook off an injury scare to lead the way with 24 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Here are some instant takeaways from the win.

First Quarter

  • There definitely wasn’t as much juice in the building as there was for Ben’s first “return” back in March, but the crowd still booed Simmons every time he touched the ball and went into a frenzy during his first trip to the free throw line. To the crowd’s dismay, Simmons hit both from the line and hit the crowd with a MJ-esque shrug, which was objectively hilarious.
  • From the tip, it looked like it could be a very long night for the Sixers. Their tallest starter tonight was Montrezl Harrell, who really struggled to stop Brooklyn’s size at first. Then the Sixers started hitting everything. They shot 5 of 8 from downtown in the quarter, helping them put up 33 points in the frame.

Second Quarter

  • For as well as the Sixers shot from deep in the first half, it helped just as much that Brooklyn struggled. The Nets shot just 4 of 12 from behind the three-point arc to start the game.
  • It’s not the part of his game that’s often talked about, but the first half may have been Paul Reed’s best offensive stretch of his career. On top of stopping Brooklyn’s late-quarter run, the backup center had 10 first-half points and another layup that made me audibly laugh out loud.
  • It appeared that Jacque Vaughn wanted to take advantage of Brooklyn’s size when Montrezl Harrell was on the court. Nic Claxton bullied Harrell for most of this stretch, forcing Rivers to go back to Reed before the half. Claxton was pulled as Reed checked in, and the Sixers were able to buoy their lead again. Interesting strategy from both coaches in the first half, as a De’Anthony Melton buzzer-beating three gave the Sixers a six-point lead at the break.

Third Quarter

  • It just does not stop for this Sixers team. As soon as the second half started, Tobias Harris appeared to injure his foot when he rolled on a drive to the basket. He would go back to the locker room but returned later in the quarter.
  • The biggest question going into the night was: would Ben Simmons miss two free throws in the second half to give Sixers fans free chicken? We didn’t have to wait very long as Simmons went to the line just a minute and a half into the third. He went 0 of 2, nuggets for all.
  • As much as they struggled from outside, the Nets had it going on for two. They shot 55 percent from the field on the night and 55 percent in the third quarter. The Sixers were able to hold the lead through three quarters, and it was because they dominated the offensive glass for a change. They won the category 20-4; they just out-hustled the Nets.

Fourth Quarter

  • For as good as the Nets’ team shooting percentage was, it really felt like the Sixers did a great job as a unit defensively. P.J. Tucker, who must be trying for some sort of record of NBA games started without a point scored, did a good job being a nuisance on Kevin Durant. Reed was an excellent rim deterrent, as his two blocks and three steals indicate, he would also finish with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Perhaps a turned ankle was all he needed. Harris really struggled in the first half, missing a couple of bunnies I’m sure he’d like to have back, but he was very effective once he returned from his injury — 14 of his 22 came after he went to the locker room.
  • As he so often has been this season, De’Anthony Melton had a quietly brilliant night: 22 points, four boards, four assists, two steals while being tasked with guarding Kyrie Irving most of the night. This win was truly a team effort. Georges Niang had himself another night going 4 of 5 from downtown, Shake Milton had another double-digit game, and Furkan Korkmaz hit a couple of threes in his first game back since injuring his knee.
  • The Hospital Sixers will try to keep the momentum going when they go down to Charlotte tomorrow to take on the Hornets at 7 p.m.

You can listen to Jackson Frank and Jas Kang break it all down on our latest postgame podcast below:

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