Simmons triple-dou­ble leads 76ers to Game 2 win over Nets

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PHILADEL­PHIA (AP) — Philly crowd. With the same 76ers fans Simmons put on blast for boo­ing in the play­off opener now go­ing wild in Game 2, Simmons cupped a hand to his right ear just like Allen Iver­son’s sig­na­ture move to spur the cheers even louder.

And he did it with Iver­son root­ing on the Six­ers from cour t si de.

Simmons had 18 points, 12 as­sists and 10 re­bounds and the Philadel­phia 76ers had an answer for the pesky Brook­lyn Nets in a 145-123 win to even their East­ern Con­fer­ence play­off se­ries Mon­day night.

“I was just try­ing to be me,” Simmons said.

Simmons had a dis­as­trous Game 1 , on the court (nine points) and from a PR per­spec­tive af­ter he crit­i­cized fans for boo­ing dur­ing a game the Six­ers were never re­ally in. He back­tracked the next day at prac­tice and never gave an­other 20,591 fans a chance to do any­thing but roar in ap­proval in Game 2. Simmons flashed the All-Star form that helped lead the Six­ers to 51 wins, and was ag­gres­sive from tipoff. He used his size and speed to at­tack the lane and scored 16 points in the half en route to his sec­ond ca­reer

Ben Simmons got an ear­ful from the

post­sea­son triple-dou­ble.

The Six­ers busted the game open with a 14-0 run to start the sec­ond half and then stretched the lead to 20 on a Simmons steal and fast­break bas­ket. With a packed house stand­ing, Simmons got a mas­sive ova­tion when he cupped his hand to his right ear just like Iver­son did in his pr i me.

“I was think­ing about the boos from the last game,” Simmons said, smil­ing. “I have a lot of love for this city.”

Iver­son and for­mer Six­ers team­mate Dikembe Mu­tombo at­tended the game and tossed T-shirts into the crowd.

Had Mu­tombo played in this one, the Nets surely would have re­ceived one of his sig­na­ture fin­ger wags.

“Every­body’s got to bring it,” Six­ers All-Star cen­ter Joel Em­biid said. “We need every­body.”

The Six­ers got a lit­tle some­thing from every­body in this one.

The Nets col­lapsed in the sec­ond half, out­played and over­matched much as ex­pected by pun­dits and book­mak­ers (they were 7.5point Game 2 un­der­dogs). The Six­ers scored 51 points on 18 of 25 shoot­ing and made all 11 free throws in the third.

“We ex­pect a hay­maker,” Nets coach Kenny Atkin­son said be­fore the game. “We know it’s com­ing. They’re too good, too tal­ented. too well coached. It’s com­ing. It’s go­ing to be how we re­act.”

Not well.

Em­biid shook off an­other game-time de­ci­sion to play through ten­dini­tis in his left knee and de­liv­ered af­ter a slug­gish Game 1. Em­biid scored 13 points in the third as the Six­ers raced to a 29point lead.

“When­ever I’m out there, I kind of for­get about the pain and just try and do the right things,” Em­biid said.

On a min­utes restriction, Em­biid had some un­ex­pected help from pop­u­lar backup Boban Mar­janovic. He scored 14 points in the first half (only Simmons had more with 16) and let the Six­ers find a com­fort level on of­fense with Em­biid out for long st r et ch es.

“This is just the path we’re on with Joel,” coach Brett Brown said. “There is zero doubt he is our crown jewel.”

Em­biid was whis­tled for a fla­grant foul for throw­ing an el­bow at Jar­rett Allen late in the half and the Six­ers nurs­ing a 6564 lead.AP

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