All eyes were on Ben Simmons last night, despite him not playing last night. Simmons would be making his return to the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time since he left the franchise amidst massive scrutiny. 76ers fans have held a grudge against Simmons, and they let him hear it throughout the course of the day.
76ers fans went to every length possible to get under Simmons' skin. They found the team hotel and began showering him with boos. And they did the same to him as he was boarding the team bus to go to the game. And during the warm-up, Simmons was heavily booed by the fans in the arena. They even went one step further and became a little creative with it at one moment in particular.
During the warm-ups, Ben Simmons pulled off a low-effort dunk, a moment that garnered a round of sarcastic applause and cheers from 76ers fans. This was probably a reference to Simmons famously passing up an open dunk in Game 7 of the 76ers' series against the Hawks, a moment that caused his teammates to criticize him, which laid the foundation for Simmons' eventual departure.
Despite all the booing, Simmons will be glad he made the trip to Philly. He got a great seat to watch his new team dismantle Joel Embiid and James Harden, as the Nets completely blew out the 76ers. Kevin Durant even jokingly remarked that things got very quiet towards the end, and there were almost no chants aimed at Ben Simmons.
Simmons will be looking forward to returning to the court soon. Simmons, according to many analysts, could be the piece that helps the 76ers win the championship, as he brings something the Nets do not have; elite defense. With Simmons responsible primarily for the defensive side of the game, offensive juggernauts like KD and Kyrie can focus on putting points on the board.