CAMDEN, N.J. — It’s hard to say if it was a tougher day for Ben Simmons on or off the court Saturday.
During the Sixers’ Game 1 loss to the Nets, Simmons finished with just nine points, seven rebounds and three assists. When he missed a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter, he elicited boos from the Wells Fargo Center crowd.
Postgame, his reaction wasn’t one that endeared him to Sixers fans.
“If you’re going to boo, then stay on that side. That’s how I feel. If you’re a Sixers fan and you’re going to boo, stay on that side.”
Predictably, that response was not received well.
At the team’s practice facility Sunday, Simmons changed his tune a bit.
It’s Philly. That’s what’s going to happen. I love it. That’s how Philly is. If you can’t play here, you can’t. They’re going to give you s---, they talk s---, it is what it is. If you’re not playing well, they’re going to let you know, but I love being here. I love the fans here. I wouldn’t want to be in a place where they didn’t really care or only showed up when times are going well. A few years ago we were winning 10 games.
It was an unusually elaborate response from Simmons, who is normally short and snappy when dealing with the media. He was clearly ready for the question and realized that his comments Saturday didn’t sit well with the fan base.
As Game 2 approaches, Simmons knows he has to move on from the postgame comments and be better. Brooklyn did an excellent job sagging off him and at times, the point guard looked tentative.
He knows that to succeed in this series, he needs to have a different mindset.
“Sometimes. Some games,” Simmons said when asked if he needed to set the tone for his team. “You just have to feel it out, but I think this is probably one of those series. I got a feeling.”
Short and snappy on that one.
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