Philadelphia fans have embraced Ben Simmons with the city’s trademark brotherly love, instead of the boos he received in Game 1.
The Australian was in sparkling form as he recorded a triple-double as the 76ers recorded a blowout NBA play-off victory against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
The 76ers pounded the Nets 145-123 at Philadelphia’s Well Fargo Center to even their eastern conference first-round series 1-1.
The 145 points was a franchise play-off record and they scored 51 of the in a third-quarter blitz.
The Nets inflicted a surprise nine-point win in Saturday’s game one at the same venue and the crowd booed Simmons and the 76ers for their substandard effort.
Simmons had them on their feet in game two with a masterful 18 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds and two steals – to join Wilt Chamberlain and Charles Barkley as the only Sixers with multiple playoffs triple-doubles.
Simmons started the game aggressively and scored seven of the 76ers’ first 14 points.
In the third quarter he stole the ball from the Nets’ All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell and raced down the court for a basket.
The crowd stood and applauded the Australian’s inspired play.
Simmons, who responded to the crowd’s boos on the weekend by telling them to “stay” on Brooklyn’s side, triumphantly put his right hand up to his hear as the crowd stood and cheered his steal and basket.
Joel Embiid had another big game with 23 points and 10 rebounds despite battling knee issues and Philadelphia’s other Australian, rookie Jonah Bolden, had one point and three rebounds.
The Nets were led by Spencer Dinwiddie’s 19 points.
The best-of-seven series moves to Brooklyn with game three on Thursday and the game four on Saturday.
Ben Simmons looking for the fans talking smack pic.twitter.com/VsTUstUgLv
— Mike Naylor (@MNaylor15) April 16, 2019
Triple double for Ben Simmons. Wonder if the Sixers fans will keep booing him 🤔 #BKNvsPHI
— GT (@GeorgeTsipnis) April 16, 2019
Name me fan base that is more moody than Philadelphia. Giving Ben Simmons a standing ovation tonight and booed him the other night
— Darshan (@realDarshanJ) April 16, 2019
Ben Simmons heard the boos
He's got 7 points and 3 rebounds in the first 5 minutes of Game 2. pic.twitter.com/5w8JowcPGT
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 16, 2019