Ben Simmons finding form just in time to return to Philadelphia, where all eyes will be on Tuesday

Ben Simmons finding form just in time to return to Philadelphia, where all eyes will be on Tuesday

Later ben simmons Had 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists in Brooklyn’s 127–115 win. grizzlies On Sunday, he was asked if he felt, just maybe, that enough time had passed since his departure from the Sixers that he might not have encountered as much hostility upon his return to Philadelphia, where Net are slated to play on Tuesday night.

“In Philly?” Simmons replied curtly. “Come on now. I know what’s coming.”

Actually, everyone knows what’s coming. Simmons is being bombarded, probably by a rain of Biblical booze every time he touches the ball. At least that’s what you’ll hear on TV. Simmons will hear too bad. That crowd is going to fire. Hopefully, for Simmons’ sake, that fire will be burning at least a little once the first wave of fury wears off and the crowd gets into the game.

However, if that doesn’t happen, Simmons is in about as good a place as he could hope to go back. nba Roots that, in the eyes of Philly fans, he ripped straight out of the earth. I don’t want to guess what’s going through anyone’s mind, but Simmons looks and sounds like he’s comfortable on the outside. confident. As far as basketball is concerned, he should be. He’s suddenly playing like his old All-Star self.

“Immediately, you saw a strength he played with,” Nets coach Jack Vaughn said after Sunday’s win. “His attack on the rim, and it was a relentless attack toward the rim. And really just spraying the basketball, the momentum he created for us tonight will make it hard for guys to guard us.”

In his last two games, Simmons has recorded 37 points, 21 rebounds and 12 assists. as broke down hereSimmons, not as Vaughn pointed out, forced a rush whenever the opportunity presented itself, either rebounding and going himself or taking outlet passes and pushing. He’s looking to find open 3-point shooters against scattered, backpedaling defenses. He’s attacking the space in front of him as a scorer, flowing in the initial offense post-up (he started his night against Memphis with a sweet right-handed jump hook) and running downhill and Eliminating via contact when security gives him the runway.

At half-court, he’s screening and running hard, making himself a real threat, seeking to shift the attention of the big guys in his direction, which in turn creates a need to eliminate handlers. Clears the lane. This earned Durant a bucket against Portland on Thursday.

On the flip wide, he finds himself a free lane when the big Simmons ignores Durant’s bunch roller.

Simmons started at center for the Nets and moved up front trying to hold his own against steven adams, who is probably the strongest guy in the league. But it’s a roster problem. Simmons and Nick Claxton playing together closes the gap, and together Kyrie Irving Back to their starting spot, the Nets went with Simmons because of the great early momentum he is starting to build, believing the positives will outweigh the negatives. It worked. Brooklyn beat Memphis by 19 points with Simmons on the floor.

“It takes time,” Simmons said when asked what has been clicking for him lately. “I’m just trying to build my consistency. Focus on what I can do. I know what I’m capable of. I know what I’m capable of. I’m not surprised [I’m playing well],

Durant wasn’t surprised either: “I expected it from Ben,” Durant said. “So when he plays well I’m not going to get excited about it.”

In other words, keep at it. Because some games just don’t make any sense. The Nets need this Simmons for the rest of the season and in the playoffs. This is your only chance to compete for the title. But for now all eyes are on Tuesday night, when the most anticipated NBA reunion in recent memory is set to go on national television (TNT, 7:30 ET). Simmons is playing well, and maybe the Nets are doing well too. They would love to keep it a business trip, but it will not be business as usual.

“One thing about Philly fans, they’re incredible. They’re Philly fanatics. That’s what I respect about the city. It’s a sports city,” Simmons said. “I was 18 when I moved to Philly, so it’s really the only place I’ve lived as an adult. I’ve got a lot of love for that city. People don’t know this, but a lot of my best friend from Philadelphia. My brother still lives in Philadelphia. So regardless [basketball] The situation, and whatever happened, happened, but I love that city. I’m looking forward to going out there and playing.”

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