By Art Beitchman
Getting booed at a pro sporting event is never good.
And when 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons faced the wrath of the 20K-plus fans in game 1 of the NBA playoffs, he was understandably upset.
So were the fans.
After playing poorly in the opener with a 9-point effort shooting 4-9 with a generally lethargic attitude, he was getting the business from the 20, 437 fans who paid top dollar to see the 76ers beat an inferior opponent.
And he wasn’t the only one not showing up.
JJ Redick, Tobias Harris were also invisible in game 1, the three totaling a combined 18 points!!
Fast forward to game 2, Simmons came out blazing recording the third playoff triple-double in franchise history (Chamberlain, Barkley) with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, powering a 51-point third quarter that blew away the Nets once and for all, matching the 1962 LA Lakers record for most points in a quarter!
Smashing the helpless Brooklyn Nets 145-123, they established a new playoff scoring total of 145 in franchise history!
More importantly, head coach Brett Brown came to the wise realization that he would not go down with the ship as back-up PG TJ McConnell was kept glued to the bench when the outcome was still in question.
Making that big adjustment gave Jimmy Butler those valuable minutes at PG when Simmons isn’t running the point, resulting in a 22 point victory the Sixers absolutely needed.
TJ getting exposed defensively was just not an option — Butler handled the ball efficiently as the Sixers scorched the Nets for 51 in the third quarter, in essence separating “the wheat from the chaff”.
The Sixers flexed on the inferior Nets to get the series tie at 1-1, with game 3 tonight at Barclay Center in Brooklyn where the 76ers can take control of this series as it should be.
Also young Ben Simmons learned a valuable lesson that getting booed can be a good thing.