Sixers coming in hot as the NBA tips off the 2021-2022 season

The Ben Simmons saga simmers down…for now…

Aaron Rigby, Sports Writer

Although the Sixers failed to complete their main off-season focus in trading star point guard Ben Simmons, they started the ‘21-’22 season off strong by winning two of their first three games by a large margin. 

When the postseason started, everybody knew that the Sixers’ main goal was to trade away their star point guard Simmons, and their only question was what and who would they trade him for.  In order to be championship contenders in a loaded league, the Sixers front office had its minds set on either all star Damian Lillard or all star shooting guard Bradley Beal, who averaged 31 points a game, second most in the entire league behind Steph Curry. 

As time passed in the offseason, teams began to lose interest in Simmons after reports of the Sixers asking for too much in return. This caused Simmons to have to return to the organization in order to avoid losing too much money from fines in the process of holding out from team activities.  As of right now, Simmons has returned to the organization and is cleared to play, but his status is unknown after he revealed to the organization that he is “not mentally ready to play” during a meeting.  

In their first game of the season, the Sixers faced the New Orleans Pelicans in the Smoothie King Center and took care of business, defeating the Pelicans 117-97. Four Sixers players concluded the game with 20 or more points including Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, as well as Furkan Korkmaz and Joel Embiid both contributing 22 points.  

Entering their second game, the Sixers played the Brooklyn Nets in their season home opener at the Wells Fargo Center.  Prior to the game, Joel Embiid addressed the Wells Fargo crowd and asked for the fans to continue to support the team, and specifically Simmons, because “he is still our brother,” Embiid explained.

Despite Harris and Seth Curry contributing 23 points each, the Sixers fell short to the Nets in a close 114-109 game. The Sixers seemingly had no response for Kevin Durant who scored 29 points along with 12 assists while grabbing 15 rebounds.  The Sixers led by as much as 12 points in the fourth quarter and were up by 10 points with 5:35 left in the fourth quarter, and it only got worse from there.  In the final 5:30 of the game, the Nets went on a 26-1 run. In that span, Danny Green airballed two three’s and James Harden had a clutch steal after a careless inbound pass by Matisse Thybulle that sealed the fate of the game.  

In their third and final game of opening week, the Sixers traveled to Oklahoma City to play the Thunder. Entering the game, Embiid’s status was questionable due to lingering knee soreness, however, he still played the game on no minutes restrictions.  The Sixers easily defeated the Thunder 115-103 in a game where Curry looked like his older brother Steph.

On October 21, Stephen Curry scored 25 points in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers, shooting a perfect 9-9 from the field and 5 of them were from 3 point range. Three days later on October 24th, his younger brother Seth Curry imitated him by scoring 23 points with 6 three’s in the first quarter.  

With about one minute remaining in the fourth quarter of this game, Josh Giddey was running a fast-break and was blocked from behind by Embiid, causing both players to fall to the ground — and both were slow to get up.  Sixers commentator Alaa Abdelnaby had some harsh words for the Thunder rookie. 

My question would be, why are you still running fastbreaks? If you don’t want us to play hard, why are you running hard?” said Abdelnaby. “No offense to Giddy but, I could care less.”  This caused an uproar among NBA fans and Alaa has received backlash for his comments during Sunday night’s game.  

Up next, the Sixers are scheduled to play three games next week, one of them is on the road against the New York Knicks, and the other two are home games against the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks.  

The Knicks are favorite to win in their match against the Sixers on Tuesday night, but I have a feeling that Embiid and Harris will each have big games, and will help the Sixers easily breeze past the Knicks, effectively moving the Sixers into one of the top two seeds in the Eastern conference by the end of the week.