Philadelphia lose to Nets in horror start to playoffs
Philadelphia 76ers have had a horror start to the NBA playoffs, with Ben Simmons going to war with his own fans, centre Joel Embiid caught looking at text messages during the game and the Brooklyn Nets running away with the victory.
The Nets, not given much of a chance of winning game one of the best-of-seven series, took an early, commanding lead and won 111-102.
Philly coach Brett Brown and Joel Embiid look up at the scoreboard during the loss.Credit:AP
The fans inside Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center were expected to lift the 76ers to the win but boos started raining down on Simmons and his teammates early in the second-quarter when they trailed 37-24.
Philly fans are among the fiercest in any sport but Simmons risked further antagonising them with his post-game comments.
"If you're going to boo, then stay on that side," Simmons told reporters in the locker room.
"That's how I feel."
The Australian 22-year-old had a below average game for his high standards with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists.
The 76ers' All-Star centre Joel Embiid, who had 22 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks despite severe knee soreness, admitted some teammates did let the boos get inside their heads.
"Every missed shot you get booed and so when you get the next one you think, 'Should I shoot it or should I not because I'm about to get booed?'," Embiid said.
Sixers veteran Jimmy Butler, who led the team with 36 points and nine rebounds, said he will not talk to Simmons about his comments.
"Ben is a grown man," Butler said.
The Nets took the upset win in game one.Credit:AP
"If that's the way he feels, that is the way he feels."
The Nets were led by D'Angelo Russell's 26 points and bench players Caris LeVert (23 points), Spencer Dinwiddie (18 points) and Ed Davis (12 points).
The 76ers shot woefully from distance, missing 22 of 25 three-pointers.
Philly's other Australian, rookie Jonah Bolden, overcame knee soreness to score two points in five minutes.
Sixers coach Brett Brown expects Simmons to bounce back.
"I'll be shocked if you don't see a different Ben Simmons in game two," Brown said.
The 76ers, who have struggled to build team chemistry since the mid-season additions of Butler and Tobias Harris because of multiple injuries, face more controversy.
Television cameras captured inactive 76ers veteran Amir Johnson on the bench during the game showing Embiid a text message.
"First it is completely unacceptable and second we will deal with it internally very soon," Brown said.
Embiid said Johnson showed him the text because Johnson's daughter was ill.
"I just looked down because his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on her," Embiid said.
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