76ers’ Harden on loss to Nets: ‘We got our a** kicked’

With Ben Simmons getting booed as he watched in street clothes, the Brooklyn Nets went into Philly Thursday night and beat up and beat down the 76ers 129-100 at Wells Fargo Center.

This was Philly’s(40-25) most lopsided loss of the season.

Brooklyn(34-33) led from start to finish and led by as many as 36 points. Kevin Durant paced the Nets with 25 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists, former Sixer Seth Curry had 24 points, and Kyrie Irving added 22.

The Nets shot 56% from the floor and made 18 threes.

There was a playoff environment in Philly with Simmons, who was traded to Brooklyn along with Andre Drummond, and Curry for James Harden, in town for the first time since the trade. 

However, the Nets took the fans out of the game early with their dominant play as they led by 17 points after one quarter and 21 points at the break.

“It was a good environment to start, but it didn’t finish that way,” Durant said after the game. “So, it didn’t feel like that when we left off the court, it felt like a regular game like I’ve been saying, but I like how we approached the game. I like how we played with physicality and didn’t let any of that stuff affect what we wanted to do; we just stayed focused on us so the crowd, no matter who we played tonight, I felt like we were locked in.”

Irving added: “It was lovely. I enjoyed it. I hope everybody at home enjoyed it – people here. Like I said, it’s great for our league when you can build up that many emotions before a night like tonight. You know there’s going to be one victor, and you want to be on that other end, so I feel like we committed ourselves to playing aggressive defense and just making it tough on them.

On the other side, Philly struggled with making shots(32% FG). Joel Embiid(5/17 FG, 27 points, and 12 rebounds) and James Harden(3/17 FG, 11 points) combined for 8/34 from the field.

“Just missed shots,” Harden said. “I think I just missed shots. There’s no excuses. I’ve gotta be better individually. Some turnovers were just careless. Individually, I’ve gotta be better. As a team, we watch film to see where can we be better. And we just try to continue to improve. This is only our sixth game together as a unit. I’m still trying to figure things out. But, tonight was good for us; we got our a** kicked.”

According to 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, the Nets just played harder.

“I just thought they played harder. They were more aggressive,” Rivers said. “They played in our airspace all night. I thought they were the more physical team all night. I didn’t think we played together tonight. I thought it was one of those games…a great example of a team that hasn’t been together.”

This was a statement game for the Nets, but it might have just been one of them games for Philadelphia. 

Simmons and the Nets get to laugh tonight; however, there’s still a lot of basketball left to be played.

Embiid, Harris react to the acquisition of James Harden

On Thursday, the 76ers sent Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, Ben Simmons, a 2022 first-round pick, and a 2027 first-round pick to Brooklyn in exchange for James Harden and Paul Millsap.

Harden will not play this weekend for the 76ers, and there is no word on when he will be available for Philadelphia.

Following their 100-87 victory over the Thunder Friday night, Joel Embiid, who had 25 points, 19 rebounds, four assists, and five blocks, talked Harden.

“It’s James Harden,” Embiid said. “First of all, sucks to lose some of my teammates, Seth [Curry] did such a great job for us the year-and-a-half he was here; Drum [Andre Drummond] was as good as any backups that we’ve had in Philly since I’ve been here. So, you know, it sucks to lose him, but you know it’s James Harden, and he is one of the best players in the league, MVP. I don’t know. I am pretty excited; you add someone like that, your chances to win a championship get even bigger, so I’m just excited to get on with it and try to figure out how to put it all together as a team and go from there…

Yeah, I talked to him, just a lot of excitement, you know, just excited. You talk about guys that I’ve played with [and] he’s probably going to be the best yet from what he has accomplished in his career so far, so it’s just about getting everybody the same page and finding how everybody plays, but we already have a system in place, and we’ve just gotta bring him along and try to get comfortable. It’s a bunch of new stuff, but a bunch of new stuff that he’s good at and then just put it all together.”

Tobias Harris, who also had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, reacted to the acquisition of Harden and Millsap.

The addition of James [Harden] is going to be huge for us, just how dynamic he is as a player, playmaker; his ability to score the basketball just putting a presence out there on the floor at the point guard position is going to be big for us, so the whole team is just excited to get him in here,” Harris said. “Paul Millsap, as well, will be a leader for our group as well, so we are excited to see how this thing comes together.”

If the 76ers want to win a title, Embiid believes the will players have to do everything in their power to make it happen.

“We’ve all gotta give up ourselves if we want to win,” Embiid said. “As you look the teams that have won in the past, whether you look at the Golden State teams. Even the Lakers or Milwaukee last year, they just move the ball. They play with each other. As I’ve been watching James [Harden], you put him in the pick and roll, and he’s probably up there as far as the best playmakers out of that pick and roll, so obviously you’ve got to add that even more to our offense because that’s what he’s good at. But like I said, we’ve all got to give up ourselves. I gotta become more of a, whether it’s a pick and roll player or pick and pop. Just to help my teammates to help him. Just like himself, he has to become off the dribble, three point shooter. But I get doubled a lot, so to be able to go against those double teams, you’ve got to be able to fire up threes off the catch, which is something he’s gonna have to do. But, it’s a work in progress. He’s my teammate. 

‘Like I always push them to let it fly because I know that if we take those, and we make them, it’s gonna make other teams stop doubling me. It just opens up everything. So I think it’s all about everyone has to give up themselves to bring it all together. The focus is everybody’s on the same page about winning. It’s all about winning the championship. It doesn’t matter if I go out there and score 40 and someone scores 10. Or if someone else scores 40 and I score 10 or 20 points. It doesn’t matter as long as we get the win. And as long as everybody understands, that’s good. When you’ve got a team on the same page, that’s driven by winning a championship.”

it’s championship or bust for Philadelphia this season, and hopefully for them, Harden can be the missing piece.

Simmons heads to Brooklyn in swap for Harden

What the 76ers would do with Ben Simmons was the talk of the NBA. Simmons, who requested a trade and did not play a game with the Philadelphia 76ers this season, was finally dealt Thursday before the NBA trade deadline, and it appears 76ers GM Daryl Morey got his man. 

Philadelphia sent Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, a 2022 first-round pick, and a 2027 first-round pick to Brooklyn for James Harden and Paul Millsap. The 25-year-old Simmons could reportedly join the Nets in Miami as the team is currently on a two-game road trip.

Back to the trade, the 2027 first-round pick is protected for selections 1-8. Should it not convey in 2027, it becomes a 2028 first-round pick, protected selections 1-8. If the pick does not convey in the first round of the 2028 NBA Draft, it becomes a 2028 second-round pick and cash consideration. 

“James Harden is one of the truly elite players in the league. His career has been defined by incredible personal achievement, including honors as NBA MVP and three-time NBA scoring champion,” Philadelphia 76ers Managing Partner Josh Harris said. 

This season, Harden is averaging 22.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 10.2 assists (second in the NBA) in 37.0 minutes per contest across 44 games (all starts), making him the only player this season with such averages.

This will go down as a deal where both teams will benefit. Philadelphia needed a guy that can score off the dribble at an elite level, and the 32-year-old Harden is that guy, while Brooklyn needed an elite defender, and they got that and a lot more with Simmons.

Philadelphia must go for it now with the uncertainty with Joel Embiid’s health.

It was not supposed to end this way for Simmons in Philly. The number one pick in the 2016 NBA Draft became a three-time All-Star with the 76ers, and he and Embiid were supposed to bring a title to Philly, but quite frankly, it was never a perfect fit on the court.

Unfortunately, in Game 7 against the Hawks in the playoffs, Simmons passed up a dunk, and at that point, his time in Philadelphia was pretty much up. 

We’ll see how much time it takes for Simmons to get back on the court. Remember, he has not played a game this season, so it might take time for him to get right. Brooklyn is scheduled to play the 76ers in Philly on March 10. Will Simmons be prepared in a month? Who knows, but it would be fun if it were to happen. 

76ers’ Embiid on Simmons: ‘At this point, I don’t care about that man’

When Ben Simmons returned to the 76ers last week after refusing to report to training camp due to him wanting to be traded, the thought was he was ready to show up and possibly play for Philadelphia until they could trade him.

However, as we’ve seen the past two days, it’s clear Simmons does not want to be a part of the 76ers. Yesterday, at practice, Simmons barely took part in the team huddle. Today, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers asked Simmons to join a defensive drill today. Simmons refused. Rivers asked again. Simmons said no again. Rivers then told Simmons he should go home, and Simmons dropped the ball and left.

Because of Simmons’ actions, the 76ers suspended him for one game due to conduct detrimental to the team. As a result, the three-time All-Star will miss the 76ers’ season opener in New Orleans against the Pelicans on Wednesday night. 

After practice, Rivers explained why he threw Simmons out of practice.

“I just thought he was a distraction today,” Rivers said. “I didn’t think he wanted to do what everybody else was doing. It was early. It wasn’t a big deal. I just told him he should leave. We went on with practice.”

Joel Embiid appears fed up with the situation.

“At this point, I don’t care about that man,” Embiid said about Simmons. “He does whatever he wants.”

However, Rivers seems willing to give Simmons another chance.

“Every day, every single moment, I’m going to give Ben a chance to join the team and be part of the team,” Rivers said. “He’s under contract to be part of the team, and that’s not going to change.”

Simmons has four years, $147 million left on his contract. 

The 76ers will wait to find the best possible deal, so Simmons could be traded now or even later, but based on today’s actions, it would be a surprise if Simmons played another game with the 76ers.

 

Ex-NBA C.J. Watson on Simmons against Hawks: ‘Honestly, it’s hard to watch’

The Philadelphia 76ers had a great opportunity to make a long playoff run this season. Philadelphia had the best record in the Eastern Conference and was clear favorites against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After three games, the 76ers led the series against Atlanta 2-1 and had an 18-point lead in Game 4 and a 26-point lead in Game 5, but they would lose both games and ultimately lose the series in 7. 

In the series against Atlanta, Ben Simmons, who was first-team all-defense this season, struggled on the offensive end. The three-time All-Star averaged 9.8 points per game in the series and shot 15/45 from the free-throw line. Late in Game 7, he had an opportunity for a dunk, but it passed it off. Simmons took only four shots in Game 7 and finished the game 2/4 from the field with only five points. 

According to former NBA player C.J. Watson, a recent guest of the Go4it podcast hosted by Paul Gant, it was tough to watch Simmons struggle against the Hawks.

“I think it’s just a lack of confidence,” Watson said. “Honestly, it’s hard to watch, but the NBA Is going into bigger guards, which is fine, but you gotta be able to score. If I were a coach or GM, I would want to pick players, who are all threats on the court, so I want five people who can shoot the ball, who can dribble, and who can be all interchangeable. Things of that nature.”

When asked if the 76ers can have success with Simmons if he does not shoot, Watson said the following.

“Without shooting, I don’t think so,” Watson said. “I think he has to develop a jump shot, at least. “It doesn’t have to be a three-point jump shot. It has to be at least a free-throw line jump shot, be able to hit a pull-up jumper, something of that nature, but he has to be able to score the ball. Like we said, he’s already an effective player. If he could add that one piece to his game, he could be even better. and help his team more.”

Philadelphia has an interesting decision to make with Simmons. Do they keep him and hope he grows his game on the offensive end, or do they trade him? 

If it were up to Watson, Simmons would be traded.

“I think I have to break them up,” Watson said about the Embiid-Simmons pairing. “I think they need more shooting around a guy like Joel Emibiid. He definitely has to have shooting. They have to take the model like the Phoenix Suns have. If you have a big like that, who can score the ball, you have to put a lot of shooting around him, a lot of guys who don’t need the ball, a lot of defensive guys. I think that’s what they’re missing.”

You can win with the 24-year-old Simmons if you don’t have to rely on his scoring, so if Philly can find another scorer, they can win. However, if they bring the same team back next season, they will continue to run into the same problems unless Simmons grows his game on the offensive end.

Watson talks Simmons at the 10:20 and the 31:46 mark of the video:

Listen to Go4it! Guest: Former NBA player Charlie Ward

Former NBA player and Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward will join us to give his thoughts on the NBA Finals, Ben Simmons, his NBA career, how different things would or could be if he played NFL football, and how much money he could have made if he were allowed to make money on his likeness/image at Florida State.

Follow on Twitter: @goforitgant
Like on Facebook: facebook.com/goforitradio
Subscribe on youtube: youtube.com/goforitgant

Listen below:

Listen to Go4it! Guest: Ex-NBA player C.J. Watson

Former NBA player C.J. Watson talks Chris Paul, Trae Young, can the Bucks win the Finals without Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Watson believes that Derrick Rose is Hall of Famer, Ben Simmons has to shoot if he wants to be better, Dame Lillard’s future in Portland, can LeBron James win another title, and who is the best player in basketball?

C.J. talks Foundation and children’s books:

quietstormfoundation.org

cjpens.com

Listen below:

The 76ers will get to the Eastern Conference finals, guaranteed!

The Philadelphia 76ers were in complete control in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference second-round series against the Hawks on Wednesday night. Philly was up by as many as 26 points in the third quarter and entered the fourth quarter leading by 18 points.

However, things went south for Philadelphia in the fourth. The Hawks outscored the 76ers 40-19 in the final quarter, and ultimately, the comeback was complete as Atlanta defeated the 76ers 109-106 at Wells Fargo Center to take a 3-2 series lead.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the 26-point blown lead was the third-largest blown lead in a playoff game over the last 25 postseasons.

Game 6 is on Friday night in Atlanta, and if the Hawks could pull it off, they will return to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2015.

Trae Young had another huge game on the road. In six road playoff games, Young is averaging 32.2 points, 9.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds. Young had 39 points and seven assists on Wednesday night, including 13 points in the fourth, and Lou Williams scored 13 of his 15 points in the final quarter.

What an amazing turnaround for the Hawks, and what a big-time letdown for the 76ers. In the past two games, Philadelphia, who had an 18-point lead against the Hawks in Game 4, has not gotten much from their top three players in the fourth quarter. Joel Embiid(1-10), Tobias Harris(0-5), and Ben Simmons(0-0) shot a combined 1/15 from the field in the fourth quarters of the last two games.

With their backs against the wall, Philadelphia will now have to win in a hostile environment to keep its season alive. State Farm Arena will be rocking on Friday night, but according to their head coach Doc Rivers, the 76ers will win Game 6 and bring the series back to Philly for Game 7 on Sunday night.

“We’ll get back up,” Rivers said postgame. “We’ll be back here for Game 7. I believe that.”

Philadelphia is still the better team in this series. Usually, the better team wins in a best-of-seven-series in the NBA, so expect the 76ers to bring this series back to Philadelphia and win it in 7. If they don’t, it will be a long offseason in Philadelphia

Notes:

Simmons has struggled from the free-throw line in the playoffs and this series. The Hawks used the “Hack-a-Ben” strategy in Game 5, and it worked. Simmons shot 4-14 from the line on Wednesday night and became the first guard in NBA history to miss ten free throws in a playoff game, and the ten missed free throws are the most by any player in a game this season.

In the playoffs this season, Simmons is shooting 33% from the foul line.

-Seth Curry had a career-playoff-high 36 points on Wednesday night. Curry shot 13/19 from the field, including 7/12 from three-point range.

Gobert, Simmons lead the way on NBA All-Defensive First Team

NBA Defensive Player of the Year Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons lead the 2020-21 NBA All-Defensive First Team, the NBA announced on Monday.  

Joining Gobert and Simmons on the NBA All-Defensive First Team are Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the fifth season in a row. This marks the second straight First Team selection for Simmons, the runner-up for NBA Defensive Player of the Year this season.  

Green has been selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the fourth time to go with two Second Team honors. Holiday is a First Team honoree for the second time. Antetokounmpo, the 2019-20 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, has earned his third consecutive NBA All-Defensive First Team selection.

The 2020-21 NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo and guard Jimmy Butler, 76ers center Joel Embiid  and guard Matisse Thybulle , and LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard has been named to the NBA All-Defensive Team (First Team and Second Team) for the seventh time. This is the fifth NBA All-Defensive Team selection for Butler, the third for Embiid, and the second for Adebayo. Thybulle is making his All-Defensive Team debut in his second NBA season.