Ben Simmons' less-than-stellar performance in the Sixers Game 1 loss caused many to question how he would respond in Game 2.
It didn't take long for an answer.
The Sixers' All-Star guard came out of the gates with aggression in Game 2, scoring 16 first-half points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field. In comparison, Simmons attempted just nine shots in 32 minutes of action in Game 1 to finish with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Game 2 was a much different story the entire way through, as Simmons would go on on to finish with 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 10 assists as Philadelphia evened the series with a record-breaking 145-123 win over Brooklyn.
He became the third player in Sixers franchise history to record multiple postseason triple-doubles, joining Charles Barkley and Wilt Chamberlain.
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Just four minutes into the third quarter, the Sixers used a 21-2 run to build a 20-point lead, prompting Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson to call for a timeout.
As he made his way to the Philadelphia bench, Simmons was caught paying homage to Allen Iverson with his famed ear gesture. When asked about the moment postgame, Simmons shared that he "was thinking about the boos from last game."
The crowd at the Wells Fargo Center was not too pleased during the Sixers' Game 1 loss as boos rang out throughout a disappointing second half. Game 2 was much different, as the raucous crowd had plenty to cheer about.
Simmons continued on his relationship with the Philly faithful, adding: "I got a lot of love for this city and the fans here, and every time I step on the floor I try to play as hard as I can and I was just showing that. The hustle I try to give each and every game is not only for my teammates and my family, it's for this city."
Head coach Brett Brown lauded his point guard's efforts on both ends of the floor in Game 2, adding that "[Simmons] was our bellringer tonight. The fact that he had 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 18 points was fantastic, but I thought that his defensive effort on D'Angelo (Russell) was spectacular. His aggression, especially."
Sixers All-Star centre Joel Embiid finished Game 2 with a game-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds. He, too, credited Simmons effort and aggression for setting the tone:
"He's the point guard. When you see your teammate play with that type of energy he picks you up, lifts you up and it makes you want to play the same way. I thought tonight he was fantastic and that is the energy we need for the rest of this series and the playoffs.
When asked about his performance in Game 2, Simmons maintained his stoic nature as he provided an honest self-assessment: "I think I had too many turnovers, I was aggressive. I just tried to play the game the right way - I think I delivered but at the same time we've still got a few more games, it's only one game."
The Sixers will try to take control of the series on Thursday as they head to Brooklyn for Game 3.