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Sixers get blown out by Durant, Irving and Nets in Simmons’ return to Philadelphia

That did not go as we’d hoped.

Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Tonight, the Sixers lost to the Nets, 129-100.

I figure that it’s best to talk about tonight’s game and events by dividing it into two parts:

  1. The Ben Stuff
  2. The Game

The Ben Stuff

You’re not going to believe this, but Ben Simmons was booed and chanted at when he came out to mill around the court pregame.

Simmons even dunked the ball at one point. An open dunk in Philadelphia — hmm, where was this in Game 7! It garnered a Bronx cheer from the Philly faithful.

Simmons did, in fact, sit on the bench during the game. While there were many cutaway shots of Simmons reacting throughout the game, and a handful of chants directed his way, once the action got underway (and got out of hand) the Simmons storyline really fell by the wayside, apart from one late-game fan ejection.

The Game

Here’s a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of my observations from tonight’s actual basketball game between the Nets and Sixers:

Q1: The energy in the arena is electric. Thybulle on Irving and Harris on Durant to start. I’d have Matisse on Durant and Maxey on Irving, personally. Embiid is here to play. Harden knocks down a three to officially pass Reggie Miller and move into third all-time on the made three-pointers list. Sixers defense needs to tighten up, as Durant is killing Harris and Curry has gotten into his midrange a few times thus far. Bad defensive quarter from Maxey so far, who’s been caught biting on pump fakes numerous times. With 3:54 left in the quarter, Embiid has shot TEN free throws. Make it twelve! Now he’s saying “get him out of here” about Drummond. Swoon. The Nets go on a run, Durant fouls Embiid, hits the deck, and Embiid and he go nose-to-nose. ‘F-Ben-Simmons!’ chants rain down. But the Sixers’ defense was porous all quarter at an unacceptable level and the Nets capitalized. 40-23, Nets.

Q2: The Sixers start this frame with Harden-Milton-Harris-Niang-Jordan on the court. I hate this lineup for a Sixers team that needs stops. I know the Sixers are short Danny Green, but this is not a lineup that inspires much confidence. Harden does not look good so far, he’s getting way too caught up in how many foul calls he’s not getting. DeAndre Jordan looked solid for this first stint. Three fouls on Kyrie with 4:39 left in the half. Harden moves to 1-of-12 from the field, they must get him going. Sixers fall down 20, Embiid has been left to do it by himself out there tonight so far. The Sixers are shooting 25 percent from the field with a minute left. Barf. Hopefully there’s another gear in the second half. 72-51, Nets.

Q3: Drummond gave the fans Frosties, at least there’s that. The Sixers just cannot string together stops and Harden hasn’t been able to get it going. Every energy play has gone to the Nets tonight as well, which is inexcusable at home. Curry killing the Sixers, this is a bloodbath. Yikes. Aside from Harden missing shots — which will happen, as it does with every player — what’s been most concerning tonight is the way the Sixers offense looks completely different than it has in the previous five with Harden. He was running the offense, finding guys all over the court, the ball was zipping around. There’s none of that tonight. 102-70, Nets.

Q4: Yawn. Isaiah Joe finally got on the court, as did Furkan Korkmaz. BBall Paul got some run and made a three. The Nets seemed to make every shot in this one, while the Sixers couldn’t buy a bucket. Harden was terrible, Maxey was MIA, Doc Rivers’ gameplan on both ends of the court left lots to be desired. It’s only one game and shouldn’t affect anything in terms of big-picture thinking or fan excitement for this Sixers team’s ceiling whatsoever, but for all the hype it was certainly a bummer to see them lay such an egg in front of the home fans. Nets win, 129-100.