Ben Simmons showed brilliance on his debut for Brooklyn and some well-known struggles against his former NBA team Philadelphia.
The Nets lost their first of three preseason games 127-108 to the 76ers, who rested stars Joel Embiid and James Harden on Tuesday (AEDT).
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Simmons booed in the second leg
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Starting alongside fellow All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Australia’s Simmons had six points, four rebounds, five assists and a steal in 19 minutes.
Like Durant and Irving, he didn’t pop up in a short-lived look at the Nets’ new big three after halftime.
It was Simmons’ first game in 470 days since his messy exit with the 76ers, which culminated in a high-profile trade with Harden in February.
The former No. 1 draft pick did not play at all last season due to mental and physical ailments, and recently admitted he was taking a toll on the heckling he received about his reluctance to shoot the ball.
Simmons threw a smooth back-the-back assist and opened the account with a powerful dunk.
But he missed two attempts in midfield and, against a backdrop of some booing Philadelphia fans in Brooklyn, missed both free throws he attempted.
“I’m grateful to be able to step onto that floor, step onto an NBA floor again,” Simmons said.
“So I had a lot of fun out there.”
“Overall (the team’s performance was) solid, obviously a lot of room for improvement, particularly on defence, but it’s a whole new team.”
He then brushed aside a question about how he was going to face his former team on the debut, saying his “debut is coming, that’s[in week one against]New Orleans.”
Simmons was the first Nets player to come on before returning to play point guard with coach Steve Nash’s second unit, which also includes Boomers star Patty Mills.
Mills was energetic but calm, a four-point game being his only offensive contribution in 10 minutes on the court.
Durant had 13 points for the Nets, while Irving had nine points and four assists, and Simmons’ former understudy Tyrese Maxey had 20 for the 76ers.
Meanwhile, Josh Giddey was busy in Denver for Oklahoma City, the Australian guard who raced to 14 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in just 25 minutes before exiting the game early in the third quarter.
Australian Nuggets newcomer Jack White sat unused on the bench.
The Thunder won 112-101 and play Giddey’s former NBL club Adelaide on Friday, while the 36ers suffered a historic loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday.
The NBA season starts on October 18th.
https://7news.com.au/sport/basketball/boos-brilliance-and-botched-free-throws-philadelphia-fans-not-happy-as-ben-simmons-ends-470-day-nba-absence-c-8439482 Boos, brilliance and botched free throws: Philadelphia fans are not happy as Ben Simmons ends his 470-day NBA absence