(Photo Courtesy of Lucas Gouvalis)
The national perception of Philly fans is that they love to boo everything. To the contrary, Philadelphia has some of the smartest sports fans in the world. Besides a few knuckleheads, knowing when to and when not to boo is not a problem. On Saturday, the Sixers fans knew they had to send a message during the game. It had to be known that a performance like that will not be tolerated. Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris are too talented to combine for just 13 points. If it were not for Jimmy Butler Saturday, there is no telling how much they would have lost by.
Even though there were plenty of missed shots to boo, that wasn’t the main source of the booing. I know the message behind the boos. The message behind the boos was really quite simple. The message was, “This type of effort, hustle, defense, and performance is unacceptable for a team this talented.” The whole team heard the message, especially Ben Simmons.
The Sixers understood how disgraceful Saturday was and righted their wrong from the weekend. We saw a different Sixers team from the minute game two started. While the Nets stayed within striking distance the first half, the Sixers would put it into a different gear in the third quarter. The Nets got no easy looks from three and the Sixers force-fed Embiid to start the third. Before you knew it, the Sixers lead ballooned-up to 20. The Ben Simmons we saw last night was the Ben Simmons we know and love. The Tobias Harris last night looked like the one we traded for mid-season.
When Philly fans see a team that is disengaged and not giving effort, you really start to hear the boos. The effort, mixed in with some boneheaded Ben Simmons turnovers, was enough to set off the fans. Last night however, Ben gave us what we expect from him. When Ben Simmons is playing like he was last night, it makes the Sixers that much harder to beat. He went from getting boo-ed Saturday to cupping his ear like AI and hyping up the crowd.
Philadelphia is the best sports town in the country. We will always show love and support for our players. However, we hold them accountable when it needs to be done. Last night showed that the team and its fans are on the same page. The Sixers badly needed that game. They needed to get things going in the right direction again. Now, it’s time to take back control of the series in Brooklyn.