‘I’m just happy as [bleep] to be on the floor’

NEW YORK — The man 76ers enthusiasts love to hate is loving existence. And his former Sixers teammates have to love what they achieved Monday night time — although it doesn’t depend.

Ben Simmons and the Brooklyn Nets have been meant to smash the undermanned Sixers in a preseason opener for each groups at the Barclays Center. Instead, Philly prevailed, 127-108, with out starters Joel Embiid, James Harden and P.J. Tucker and reserve Danuel House, whilst the Nets performed stars Simmons, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant.

But this exhibition recreation between Atlantic Division opponents had a couple of storylines.

It marked Simmons’ first recreation towards his former workforce since forcing a blockbuster business to the Nets on Feb. 10. It additionally marked the first recreation he’s performed since the Sixers misplaced a decisive Game 7 of the second-round collection to Atlanta on June 20, 2021. That used to be 470 days prior to Monday.

Simmons completed with six issues on 3-for-6 taking pictures to move with 5 assists, 4 rebounds and one thieve in 19 mins — all in the first part.

Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey, who best performed prior to intermission, led all scorers with 20 issues on 6-for-8 taking pictures in just 13 mins, 50 seconds of ground time.

Furkan Korkmaz and rookie two-way participant Julian Champagnie each added 15 issues.

In the first part, the Sixers scored 67 issues on 21-for-46 taking pictures. They made 8 of 14 three-pointers in the first quarter by myself.

While this recreation used to be an exhibition, it used to be just every other instance of the Sixers stepping up with their highest avid gamers sitting out.

“I think we just got a whole bunch of dogs on our team that are ready to eat,” stated Paul Reed, who had 10 issues, 3 steals, 5 rebounds, and one block whilst beginning at middle instead of Embiid. “So they get that opportunity, we all know what we have to do.”

But the recreation used to be all about Simmons.

“I thought I would be anxious and nervous, but I’m excited about getting on the floor,” Simmons informed The Inquirer prior to the recreation. “It’s not even about playing against Philly in the first game. It’s about getting on the floor.

“People don’t even know the other side of that, I worked so hard to get back on the court with this back injury I was dealing with.”

Simmons handled a herniated disk. Things are going higher for the 2018 rookie of the 12 months who has been with a bodily therapist following again surgical procedure in May.

» READ MORE: Sixers’ Isaiah Joe sits on roster bubble getting into preseason — however he’s retaining his eye on the ball

But he additionally had to maintain his complaint with the Sixers.

In August, Simmons and the Sixers reached a agreement that allowed him to recoup a portion of the just about $20 million that used to be withheld after he failed to play in video games prior to being traded.

“The combination of everything going on is a lot,” he stated. “For me, I had to take a step back, get my rehab done, and work my way onto getting back on the floor.

“So I’m just happy as [expletive] to be on the floor, to be on an NBA court, man.”

There have been most commonly cheers when Simmons used to be offered throughout beginning lineup introductions. The crowd even chanted “Ben Simmons” after he scored his first basket. And there have been oohs and aahs after his assists.

One of his crowd pleasers used to be a behind-the-back no-looker to Nic Claxton in the moment quarter.

But it wasn’t all love.

There used to be a big contingent of Sixers enthusiasts in attendance who booed Simmons. They cheered when the level guard ignored a couple of foul photographs in the first quarter.

Simmons stated he didn’t in reality have any emotions about going through the Sixers.

“A lot of people try to create a fake beef or whatever is,” he stated. “Like, if I have an issue with somebody, I’ll just [expletive] tell them.

“If somebody got an issue with me and they don’t say anything, but they want to talk behind my back, then that’s a personal thing. That’s them. I can’t get caught up on that. But I’m just happy to be on the court.”

It wasn’t unexpected that Embiid, Harden, and Tucker all ignored Monday’s matchup. Coach Doc Rivers prior to now stated a minimum of 3 starters would sit down out the preseason opener. Rivers stated he if truth be told informed the trio on Thursday that they wouldn’t play.

Being sidelined didn’t save you Embiid and Harden from exerting numerous power. The two standouts stayed at Basketball City facility Monday to figure out lengthy after that morning’s shootaround.

Meanwhile, House ignored the recreation with a stiff neck. The swingman used to be elbowed in the neck throughout final week’s coaching camp at The Citadel.

Tucker had an arthroscopic process on his left knee this summer season. Meanwhile, Embiid, who suffered an orbital fracture close to his proper eye and tore a ligament in his proper thumb towards the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs, had surgical procedure on the thumb and a process on his left index finger following the postseason. And Harden used to be hampered via lingering left hamstring tightness all the way through the season. All 3 avid gamers are stated to be wholesome.

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