“This is a boxing crowd tonight”

The game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t disappoint tonight. It was the first time Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were on the same basketball court as opponents in an official NBA game.

Everyone at Wells Fargo Arena, the 76ers’ home floor, was anticipating something to erupt between the two former teammates. Here’s what Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers had to say about the atmosphere and anticipation coming from the crowd:

“First play, Ben [Simmons] is watching Joel [Embiid]. [The crowd] was like a party. It was hilarious. That’s when I turned to the coaches and said ‘this is a boxing crowd tonight.’ They want to see ’em drop the basketball, turn and duke it out”

“First play, Ben [Simmons] is watching Joel [Embiid]. [The crowd] was like a party. It was hilarious. That’s when I turned to the coaches and said ‘this is a boxing crowd tonight.’ They want to see ’em drop the basketball, turn and duke it out” – Doc Rivers https://t.co/D0RzWDWHCi

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons didn’t play hand-to-hand for the entire game. They rarely matched up because of how both teams played. The Brooklyn Nets had Nic Claxton on “The Process” while Simmons took on James Harden, the Philadelphia 76ers’ point guard.

In the few times Embiid had to guard Simmons and vice versa, there weren’t plenty of fireworks. The Australian was mostly engaged when he had to guard Embiid. Philly’s superstar big man hardly had to guard Simmons on offense as the point-forward barely attempted to look at the rim.

The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers will face each other two more times in the regular season. They’ll battle on Feb. 11 and April 9, both at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It will be interesting to see how these games play out between Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.


The Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and the Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons’ trending in opposite ways

Joel Embiid has only gotten better and better. He was runner-up to Nikola Jokic for the MVP award over the last two years and is in strong contention to finally grab the honor this season.

Embiid is the reigning scoring champ and is currently just a few points behind Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic from defending the title. He is averaging 33.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.7 blocks.

The five-time All-Star is one of the biggest reasons why the Philadelphia 76ers have surged near the top of the Eastern Conference. After the win against the Brooklyn Nets, Doc Rivers’ team is now holding a 31-16 record. They are just three games behind the Boston Celtics for the top mark in the Eastern Conference.

Joel Embiid with an And-1 and DMX hip thrust 15-yard flag for getting the third pump in. Thrust the Process is back https://t.co/WvL778V9uD

Amid James Harden and Tyrese Maxey’s injuries, Embiid has proven he is one of the NBA’s best players.

Meanwhile, Ben Simmons continues to struggle with the Brooklyn Nets. He hasn’t been the same since he suffered a meltdown in the 2021 playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.

The former All-Star had back surgery last offseason, but his issues seem to be more mental than physical, according to Charles Barkley.

Doris Burke had this to say about how Simmons’ career has become while watching him play versus the Philadelphia 76ers tonight:

“You see the lack of aggression from Ben Simmons and it’s such a striking contrast to watch him. There’s times when he just completely disappeared on the offensive end of the floor. Averaged about 10 drives a game and becoming a three-time All-Star in Philly.

“He’s about 3.5 drives per game and it’s hard to watch. In 2020, he was a third-team All-NBA guy. He’s become a role player, an excellent defensive player, but a role player.”

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Edited by Michael Macasero


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