NBA

Embiid approached Simmons reunion 'just like every single night'

By Sports Desk January 26, 2023

Joel Embiid found the experience of facing Ben Simmons for the first time no different to any other night as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Brooklyn Nets in a thriller.

Embiid came up against his former team-mate Simmons for the first time at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday and the 76ers came out on top, winning 137-133.

Simmons was traded to the Nets almost a year ago in a deal that saw James Harden make the move to Philadelphia.

Three-time All-Star point guard Simmons scored 12 points, claimed five rebounds and provided five assists as the Nets slipped to 29-18.

Embiid finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for a 76ers side that have won six games in a row and sit second in the Eastern Conference at 31-16 behind the Boston Celtics (35-14).

Asked how it felt doing battle with Simmons for the first time, he replied: "Nothing. Just like every single night, [I am trying to] just freaking kill whoever is in front of me.

"My mentality is always about scoring. If I get doubled, make the right pass, but if I get played one-on-one, or I see an opportunity to go score, I'm going to go score."

Doc Rivers, the 76ers head coach, said: "The first play, Ben is guarding Joel and it was like it was a party.

"It was hilarious. That's when I turned to our coaches and said, 'This is a boxing crowd tonight. They want to see them drop the basketball, turn and duke it out. And [Simmons and Embiid] went at each other, which is fun and good."

Despite another win, Rivers felt his players could have handled the occasion better.

He added: "I thought the team overall did. We got caught up in all the c*** going on tonight.

"There was a lot of chippiness, and that's good, but play above it, stay above it. Keep playing. I didn't think we did that."

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