Irony was at play contained in the Wells Fargo Heart in Philly on Thursday evening.
Ticket costs had been by means of the roof. Followers had been camped outdoors the Brooklyn Nets hotel heckling Ben Simmons because the staff boarded their bus to go for the pregame shootaround, and Dr. J. even rang the bell earlier than the sport to get the evening began.
It was all for nothing.
The Nets ran the Sixers out of the constructing in arguably essentially the most anticipated sport of the common season. They stated it was presupposed to be a hostile crowd. They stated Simmons was torturing himself by sitting on the bench in avenue garments. Nicely, they lied. Brooklyn led wire-to-wire in a sport wherein they scored 40 factors within the first quarter, was up by 21 on the half, and had a lead that grew to 36 factors because the Sixers fell 129-100 to New York Metropolis’s greatest staff.
Earlier than the sport, Sixers coach Doc Rivers said, “Why would I tackle a man in avenue garments,” when requested if he’d mentioned Simmons with the staff. The followers had been supposed to handle it for him. Nicely, that was the plan, but it surely didn’t wind up occurring. The followers that began the evening booing their former level guard, had been booing their very own staff by the third quarter.
“It was very quiet in the direction of the tip,” Kevin Durant advised TNT’s Stephanie Prepared after the sport. “We didn’t hear anymore Ben Simmons chants from the Sixers followers. It was extra Nets followers in right here than something.”
Whereas all the main target was on Simmons, it was as if all people forgot that the Nets had been a staff that felt disrespected. Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid have by no means gotten alongside, and after just a few months of appearing as in the event that they appreciated one another, the 2 huge males had been in a position to battle within the paint all evening like they often do as opponents. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant received an opportunity to face James Harden after he left them for his desired vacation spot in Philly. Durant and Irving mixed for 47 factors, whereas Harden was held to 11 factors after taking pictures an abysmal 3-for-17 from the sphere, largely as a result of Irving’s protection. After which there was Seth Curry, Doc Rivers’ personal son-in-law that was traded away as if he wasn’t the Sixers’ second-best participant this season. He completed with 24 factors.
Thursday evening was a catastrophe for Philadelphians, particularly when you think about their popularity and the constructing this sport was happening in. For those who’ve by no means been to the Wells Fargo Heart, or no matter it was known as previously, it’s not a really “luxurious” area. It was in-built 1996 and appears and seems like Philly. From the nosebleed seats to the ground seats to the VIP areas within the again the place the buffets and open bars are, all the things about it screams “blue-collar.” It’s the furthest factor from a “heat and welcoming” place. That’s why a metropolis with a fanbase that once had people eating horsesh*t in the course of the road to rejoice a Tremendous Bowl win was the right place to heckle and harass a grown man that turned down a wide-open dunk in an important playoff sport all as a result of he was afraid of the second.
The loudest boos from the followers had been directed on the Sixers on Thursday evening, not the one that the complete metropolis had directed their hatred towards all season. And when one thing like that occurs, it makes you marvel if Ben Simmons was actually the issue in Philadelphia in any case.