PHILADELPHIA — Tobias Harris scored 24 points and a spirited Philadelphia 76ers team, without Joel Embiid and James Harden, spoiled Ben Simmons’ homecoming with a 115-106 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

Simmons had 11 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to steady whistles. Kyrie Irving had 23 points and Kevin Durant had 20 before coach Jacques Vaughn brought out the starting lineup with 3 minutes left in the game.

The anticipated marquee matchup was marred with Embiid out with a sprained left foot, Harden still out with a sprained right hamstring and starting guard Tyrese Maxey also out with a broken left foot.

Embiid vs. Simmons will have to wait.

Simmons fans against the 76ers were pretty good.

Simmons was booed, he committed a flagrant foul, he got the crowd to fall silent while lying down, and even Jordan shrugged off his free throws. Most importantly for a player who has struggled with mental health issues, Simmons played with poise as whistles rained down on him for much of his 32 minutes.

He already had three assists when he stepped to the free throw line early in the game. Simmons was booed but never looked rattled and sank both baskets. Simmons hit a reverse layup minutes later to get his first bucket.

Sixers fans were mostly well-behaved — except for a couple of short-lived “(expletive) Ben Simmons!” chants — and mostly kept the four-letter words for the tape on the back of their old No. 25 jerseys.

Simmons and Sixer sophomore Georges Niang fought late in the first half, and Niang easily hit his former teammate in the body, drawing a technical foul.

Harden couldn’t believe the call from the bench. Sixers owner Josh Harris looked horrified.

Simmons missed a technical free throw and the crowd roared like they had the entire game. However, Simmons got down court for the interception and knocked the loose ball to Durant, who got the bucket.

The Sixers still led 63-57 at halftime.

It wasn’t just a joke, it was all a game. Simmons really got 76ers fans going crazy for him when he missed back-to-back free throws in the second half and started a free fast food chicken promotion.

Simmons averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists over four seasons with Philadelphia, which drafted him out of LSU, where he played just one season. His ubiquitous headaches, such as his refusal to shoot beyond 15 feet, were outweighed by his otherwise talented defensive and playmaking abilities. Simmons’ relationship with the Sixers soured after the 2021 playoffs, and he demanded a trade.

Simmons made a surprise return to the Sixers shortly before last season’s opener, but was immediately kicked out of practice and suspended for one game. Punishment didn’t matter; the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft never intended to play.

And he never played for the Sixers again.

It seemed that playing against them was much more fun.


Nets: Seth Curry scored 14 points. He was involved in the Simmons trade, but his involvement in the deal was more personal. He is the son-in-law of 76ers coach Doc Rivers.

76ers: Harris clutched his right ankle and hobbled to the locker room in the third quarter. He gave the Sixers fans a scare, but came back and made a jumper that made it 85-82.


Nets: Continue a three-game road trip Wednesday at Toronto and Friday at Indiana.

76ers: Embiid will miss Wednesday’s game against Charlotte.

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