PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ben Simmons got an earful from the Philly crowd.
With the same 76ers fans Simmons put on blast for booing in the playoff opener now going wild in Game 2, Simmons cupped a hand to his right ear just like Allen Iverson’s signature move to spur the cheers even louder.
And he did it with Iverson rooting on the Sixers from courtside.
Simmons had 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers had an answer for the pesky Brooklyn Nets in a 145-123 win to even their Eastern Conference playoff series Monday night.
Simmons had a disastrous Game 1, on the court (nine points) and from a PR perspective after he criticized fans for booing during a game the Sixers were never really in. He backtracked the next day at practice and never gave another 20,591 fans a chance to do anything but roar in approval in Game 2.
The Sixers busted the game open with a 14-0 run to start the second half and then stretched the lead to 20 on a Simmons steal and fastbreak basket. With a packed house standing, Simmons got a massive ovation when he cupped his hand to his right ear just like Iverson did in his prime.
The Nets collapsed in the second half, outplayed and overmatched much as expected by pundits and bookmakers (they were 7.5-point Game 2 underdogs).
“We expect a haymaker,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said before the game. “We know it’s coming. They’re too good, too talented. too well coached. It’s coming. It’s going to be how we react.”
Joel Embiid shook off another game-time decision to play through tendinitis in his left knee and delivered after a sluggish Game 1. Embiid scored 13 points in the third as the Sixers raced to a 29-point lead.
Embiid was whistled for a flagrant foul for throwing an elbow late in the half and the Sixers nursing a 65-64 lead. The Nets made 10 of 23 3s to stay in the game and keep a second straight upset in sight.
L.A. CLIPPERS 135, GOLDEN STATE 131: The Los Angeles Clippers outscored Golden State 41-23 in the fourth quarter to even their playoff series at a win apiece.
The Clippers got a big night from their bench with Lou Williams scoring a team-high 36 points along with 11 assists, and Montrezl Harrell adding 25 points and 10 rebounds. Danilo Gallinari added 24 points.
Golden State lost big man DeMarcus Cousins to an apparent quadriceps injury in the first quarter.
Stephen Curry had 29 points and Kevin Durant 21 for the Warriors, who were hurt by 22 turnovers.