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Nets and Ben Simmons enjoy laughing at James Harden’s 76ers

PHILADELPHIA — Those who showed up to boo and curse inactive former 76ers star Ben Simmons also went home unhappy about what was unfolding on the court due to a dominant two-way performance from Kevin Durant and the Nets.

Brooklyn’s holdover stars silenced a toxic crowd at the Wells Fargo Center who chanted “Fk Ben Simmons” out loud several times – before redirecting their anger to the home team. The Nets drove to a blowout win over James Harden and the Sixers, 129-100, Thursday in the first meeting since the blockbuster trade between the teams a month ago.

“It was a good environment to start with, but it didn’t end that way,” Durant said. “When we left the pitch, it didn’t feel like that. It felt like a normal game like I said.

“But I liked how we approached the game and we played with physicality and didn’t let anything influence what we wanted to do. The crowd, no matter who we played tonight, I felt like we were locked in.”

Kevin Durant celebrated with Nic Claxton and the Nets in a 129-100 win over the 76ers and former teammate James Harden.
Kevin Durant celebrated with Nic Claxton and the Nets in a 129-100 win over the 76ers and former teammate James Harden.
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Durant scored 25 points in three quarters on 10-for-17 shooting with 14 rebounds, and Kyrie Irving continued his 50s with 22 points and five assists in Charlotte earlier this week as the Nets climbed back above the .500 mark (34-7). -). 33) with their second straight road win.

“Guys rose to the occasion, we got our second win in a row and let’s see if we can keep building,” said Nets coach Steve Nash. “I think it’s great for our confidence. We’ve had such a tough time here with injuries and we’re trying to pull this thing together and build some cohesion.

“It brings everyone together a little bit and gives us faith and confidence in what we’re trying to do.”

Kyrie Irving rides James Harden in the Nets' blowout win.
Kyrie Irving rides James Harden in the Nets’ blowout win.
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MVP candidate Joel Embiid advanced Philadelphia (40-25) with 27 points and 12 boards — including 15 of 19 from the free-throw line. But Harden – guarded mostly by Irving – clinched 12 of his first 13 shots in the first half and shot 3-for-17 overall for 11 points.

Both 76ers stars ended their first loss in six games since Harden’s acquisition on Feb. 10 with a minus-30 rating.

“We have ours [butt] kicked,” Harden said.

Ben Simmons (right) greets his former coach Doc Rivers (left).
Ben Simmons (right) greets his former coach Doc Rivers (left).
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“It was lovely. I enjoyed it,” said Irving of the win. “It’s great for our league to be able to build so much emotion on a night like tonight. I felt we made a commitment to playing an aggressive defense. … When you set foot in an environment like this, we knew there would be high-intensity fans and we wanted to enjoy it.”

Simmons, 25, emerged to take his nuggets from his former fans after requesting a trade from the Sixers last summer. He sat out the entire season prior to last month’s Deadline deal, while citing mental health concerns as the reason for his absence. The three-time All-Star is yet to improve his condition after also dealing with back pain since the trade.

“You’re coming at Ben,” Irving said, “you’re coming at us.”

Kevin Durant, who scored 25 points, slams home a dunk in the Nets' convincing win over the 76ers.
Kevin Durant, who scored 25 points, slams home a dunk in the Nets’ convincing win over the 76ers.
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The game clearly had a playoff feel to it even before the opening tip, with Sixers legends Julius Erving and Allen Iverson among those in attendance. dr J even rang the replica Liberty Bell before the game.

Barely a minute into the game, the home crowd erupted in his first of several loud “Fk Ben Simmons” chants, but Durant whizzed down the lane and yelled at Iverson and Erving after an emphatic dunk. Irving also buried a couple of early 3-pointers, and both stars scored 11 points in the first quarter as the Nets blasted out to a 40-23 lead.

Meanwhile, Harden managed just one shot in the quarter, but it was a 3-point smash to surpass Reggie Miller and move up to third on the all-time list, behind only Stephen Curry and Ray Allen.

Brooklyn led by as many as 24 points in the second quarter and shot a sizzling 64.1 percent from the floor as he carried a 72-51 lead into the break, with the cushion extended to 32 by the end of the third.

“We consider Ben our brother,” Durant said of Simmons. “We knew this was a hostile environment … but it’s hard for you to yell at Ben Simmons when you’re losing that much.”

https://nypost.com/2022/03/10/nets-and-ben-simmons-enjoy-laugher-over-james-hardens-76ers/ Nets and Ben Simmons enjoy laughing at James Harden’s 76ers

JOE HERNANDEZ

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