Ben Simmons benched by Jacque Vaughn, dunked on by Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs Brooklyn Nets, video, reaction


Ben Simmons sat on the bench for the last nine minutes of the Brooklyn Nets’ 137-133 loss to the 76ers as the Australian was relentlessly booed by the Philadelphia crowd.

Simmons finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists and caught fire in the third quarter as the 26-year-old began driving to the rim with aggression.

The Australian scored all of his 12 points in that span, otherwise he struggled to assert himself at the attacking end in a scoreless first half.

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Thu 26 Jan

Thursday January 26

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It had ESPNs Kendrick Perkins stated at half-time that Simmons was “afraid of the moment”.

“While Tyrese Maxey was the X Factor, Ben was not a factor,” said Perkins.

“I’m going to change his name to Ben Perkins, he had the same stats as me. It’s amazing how[he]now goes from an all-NBA player to an enforcer, which is what he’s been. Three violations.

“I’m starting to think he’s afraid of the moment.”

There was no better illustration of that than with one minute left in the first quarter, when Simmons missed an opportunity on the perimeter to pass to teammate Yuta Watanabe instead.

“You see Ben Simmons’ lack of aggression and it’s such a striking contrast to watch him,” Burke said.

“Sometimes he’s completely gone on the offensive side of the floor. He averaged about 10 drives per game to become a three-time All-Star in a Philly jersey. [Now] he drives about 3.5 times a game and it’s hard to watch.

“He’s become a role player, an excellent defensive player, but a role player.”

Simmons showed just how valuable he can be in the third quarter when he and teammate Seth Curry kept the Nets in the game without Kyrie Irving on the floor.

Irving told reporters after the game that Brooklyn looked “really good” when Simmons was at his most aggressive, as in the third quarter.

“We see flashes,” Irving said.

“We all see flashes and we just want him to keep it up.”

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The same goes for Nets coach Vaughn, who said Simmons “showed in the quarter that he could play with more power,” but that he also needed to find a way to do it more consistently.

Vaughn left Simmons on the bench for the last nine minutes of the game, telling reporters that the decision had more to do with Brooklyn being down and needing more shooting opportunities.

However, the Nets coach also elaborated on what he thought of Simmons’ performance as a whole and whether he gave the Australian any specific advice on how to assert himself more.

“It’s the message I was talking about before the game,” he said.

“We’re going to get every man, including Ben, to value every possession and play hard. Just because you play the first half doesn’t mean you’re going to play the second half.

“We really want to get to a point where your team-mate depends on you, depends on you to do your job, every possession. Ben showed in the second half that he could play with more power, which paid off, and that is what we need.”

Vaughn also suggested that it’s not so much about telling Simmons what to do, but more about giving the 26-year-old room to reflect on his game and change his mentality on the pitch over time.

“You become what you put your mind to,” Vaughn said, sending a clear message to Simmons.

So if you think about being aggressive, you will be aggressive. If you remember to be a good teammate, you will be a good teammate. When you think about competition and playing hard, you do those things. You become what you think about.”

Thursday’s game marked the first time Simmons shared the field with Joel Embiid and James Harden since the blockbuster trade that sent him to Brooklyn in the first place.

The Australian was booed relentlessly by Sixers fans every time he touched the ball and the crowd certainly had all eyes on Simmons as he guarded Embiid at various points during the match.

“[The crowd] was like a party,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said after the game.

“It was hilarious. Then I turned to the coaches and said, ‘this is a boxing crowd tonight.’ They want to see them drop the basketball, turn around and battle it out”

The fans probably would have booed him every breath if they could, such is the town’s hatred of Simmons, who asked for a trade last season amid a deteriorating relationship with Embiid and was traded to the Nets for Harden.

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Embiid, who returned to the lineup after sitting out their final game with sore feet, was largely outplayed by Nic Claxton, who had a career-high 25 points with 11-for-12 shooting, while adding 11 rebounds and two blocks .

The Nets trailed 17 in the third quarter and still trailed 116-102 in the fourth before an 18-4 blitz tied the score. But they couldn’t get over the bump and immediately returned an 8-2 run.

An Irving bucket cut the Sixers’ lead to 133-131 with 45 seconds left, but Harden followed with a finger roll to essentially freeze it.

Curry, who arrived with Simmons in the Harden deal, led the Nets with 32 points on 7-for-10 shooting from behind the arc. Irving added 30 points and 10 assists.

Maxey had 27 points and Embiid scored 26 on subpar six-for-18 shooting for the Sixers (31-16). Harden finished with 23 points – eight in the fourth quarter – and seven assists.

– of New York Post

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