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

After Ben Simmons installed 22 points, 8 rebounds and 5 helps in Brooklyn’s 127-115 win over the Grizzlies on Sunday, he was asked if he believed, simply perhaps, that adequate time had actually passed because his Sixers departure that he may not be met rather as much hostility in his go back to Philadelphia, where the Nets are slated to use Tuesday night. 

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

Indeed, everybody understands what’s coming. Simmons is going to be bombarded, most likely each time he touches the ball, with a scriptural rain of boos. That’s what you’ll hear on television, a minimum of. Simmons will hear a lot even worse. That crowd is going to be on fire. Hopefully, for Simmons’ sake, that fire will stress out a minimum of a bit once the very first wave of fury subsides and the crowd settle into the video game. 

Just in case it does not, nevertheless, Simmons remains in about as excellent a location as he might’ve hoped heading back to the NBA roots that, in the eyes of Philly fans, he ripped directly from the earth. I do not wish to hypothesize on what’s going on inside anybody’s head, however as Simmons looks and sounds from the outdoors, he seems at ease. Confident. As far as basketball is worried, he needs to be. He’s unexpectedly playing like his old, All-Star self. 

“Immediately, you saw a force that he played with,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn stated after Sunday’s win. “His attack of the rim, and it was a relentless attack toward the rim. And really just spraying the basketball, the pace that he created for us tonight, it’ll make it hard for people to guard us.”

Over his last 2 video games, Simmons has actually signed up 37 points, 21 rebounds and 12 helps. As broken down here, Simmons, as Vaughn avoided to, is requiring a much faster pace whenever the chance emerges, either rebounding and going himself or taking the outlet pass and pressing. He’s discovering open 3-point shooters versus spread, backpedaling defenses. He’s assaulting the area in front of him as a scorer, streaming into early offense post-ups (he began his night with a sweet right-handed dive hook versus Memphis) and driving downhill and ending up through contact when defenses offer him a runway. 

In the half court, he’s screening and rolling hard, making himself a genuine hazard, which requires the attention of the huge to move in his instructions, which, in turn, clears a lane for the handler to complete. This got Durant a pail versus Portland on Thursday. 

On the flip broad, when bigs disregard Simmons as the roller to flock to Durant, he’s got a totally free lane himself. 

Simmons began at center for the Nets and was overmatched attempting to hold his ground versus Steven Adams, who’s most likely the greatest man in the league. But that’s a lineup issue. Simmons and Nic Claxton playing together eliminates the spacing, and with Kyrie Irving back in his beginning area, the Nets opted for Simmons as the beginning huge provided the momentum he’s beginning to construct, thinking the positives would surpass the negatives. It worked. Brooklyn outscored Memphis by 19 points with Simmons on the flooring. 

“It takes time,” Simmons stated when he was asked what’s been clicking for him just recently. “Im just trying to build my consistency. Stay focused on what I can do. I know what I can do. I know what I’m capable of. I’m not surprised [I’m playing well].”

Durant isn’t shocked, either: “I expect this from Ben,” Durant stated. “So when he plays well I’m not going to get excited about it.” 

In other words, keep this up. Because a couple of video games does not suggest anything. The Nets require this Simmons for the rest of the season and into the playoffs. It’s the only possibility they need to contend for a title. But in the meantime all eyes shift to Tuesday night, when among the most expected NBA reunions in current memory is set to decrease on nationwide tv (TNT, 7:30 ET). Simmons is playing well, and perhaps the Nets are discovering their stride. They’d enjoy to keep this a service journey, however this will not be organization as typical. 

“One thing about Philly fans, they’re incredible. They’re diehard Philly. I respect that about the city. It’s a sports town,” Simmons stated. “I was 18 years old coming into 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 that, but a lot of my best friends are from Philadelphia. My brother still lives in Philadelphia. So regardless of the [basketball] situation, and whatever happened happened, but I’ve got a lot of love for that city. I look forward to going down there and playing.”

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