Nets’ Ben Simmons booed heavily by 76ers fans in first game back in Philadelphia

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Ben Simmons made his highly-anticipated return to Philadelphia as a member of the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night to face off against the 76ers. The game represented Simmons’ first game played in Philadelphia since Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals — the game in which Simmons infamously passed up on a dunk opportunity in the closing minutes of the contest as a member of the Sixers. Simmons never played for the Sixers again after that game, as he requested a trade over the offseason — a wish that was ultimately granted when he was dealt to Brooklyn in February. 

The Nets played in Philadelphia following the trade last season, but Simmons was sidelined for that game, so while he was still on the receiving end of plenty of ire from Philadelphia fans, he wasn’t actually out on the floor. This time around, though, Simmons was prepared to play, and the crowd was prepared for him. Simmons was met with boos as soon as he hit the floor from warmups, and those boos only intensified as the arena filled up and fans found their seats. 

Injury issues squeezed a lot of the juice out of this matchup, as the Sixers were without their three best players in Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, The crowd didn’t seem to mind too much, though, as those in attendance made sure to bring the energy when Simmons was introduced. 

In reality, the response was a bit more subdued than expected, but the boos didn’t end with pregame introductions. Simmons was met with jeers upon all of his early touches in the contest. 

Simmons has been playing his best basketball of the season over the past week or so, and he will look to continue that trend in hostile territory. 

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