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Kevin Durant: ‘It’s hard for you to chant at Ben Simmons when you’re losing by that much’

Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant at Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 10: Ben Simmons #10 and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets greet each other during warm ups before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on March 10, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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76ers fans arrived early to jeer Ben Simmons.

Many left before the Nets finished their 129-100 victory in Philadelphia last night.

Kevin Durant (25 points) and Kyrie Irving (22 points) led an impressive effort as Simmons watched his return game from the bench due to back issues. Brooklyn led by double digits since late in the first quarter, by at least 20 the whole second half and as much as 36.

SNY:

Durant:

We look at Ben as our brother, so we knew that this was a hostile environment, and we knew that he didn’t have the opportunity to play. So, we wanted to come out there and have them focus on the court more so than just always focusing on him. So, they focused on the court tonight, and it’s hard for you to chant at Ben Simmons when you’re losing by that much.

Irving:

When we played tonight, we definitely felt like Ben was on our heart. You could see it. He was wearing it. And we just wanted to go out there and play for him and play well.
If you come at Ben, you come at us.

That must be music to Simmons’ ears after what Joel Embiid said about him. Simmons’ trade request led to Embiid making more harsh comments. Danny Green took another swipe on Simmons’ way out the door.

Whatever Simmons exactly is going through mentally, how could Durant’s and Irving’s support not feel amazing?

Simmons deserves culpability for the dynamic with his Philadelphia teammate breaking down, too. But this isn’t about who was right and who was wrong. Simmons felt how he felt.

Now, he’s being welcomed by the Nets. The swing in reception is jarring.

Maybe Simmons will eventually reciprocate this support on the court for his new team.