November 28, 2022

Three Things is NBC’s five-day-a-week roundup of the night before in the NBA. Head over to every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before, plus the rumours, dramas, and dunks that make the NBA a must-watch.

1) Ben Simmons handles boos in exchange for Philly; Nets don’t

Ben Simmons smiled, joked, and enjoyed himself. After warming up in his first Philadelphia game in two and a half years, he took selfies with fans.

Those 76ers fans let Simmons know what they thought of the player who competed for their team in its greatest moments, then sat out a season and forced a trade out of town. They let him know from the opening introductions.

Simmons shrugged and finished the night with 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting plus 11 assists, continuing his strong game. Simmons’ first runs came at the free-throw line—a source of frustration when he was wearing a Sixers jersey—but he calmly sank in the face of boos.

From there, he made some quality plans on both sides, even silencing the mob.

Simmons handled his return well.

The rest of his Nets teammates don’t. Facing a Philadelphia team without Joel Embiid (sprained foot), James Harden (sprained right foot tendon), and Tyrese Maxey (left foot fracture), the Nets struggled to stop and trailed from the middle of the first quarter for nearly the entire game. DeAnthony Melton (22 points including six 3-pointers) and B-Ball Paul Reed (19 points and 10 rebounds) stepped up, along with Tobias Harris, who scored 24. As a team, the Sixers shot 16 of 32 (50%) from 3.

Kyrie Irving scored 23, Kevin Durant 20, but the Nets returned to their worst defensive form—they had been better under new coach Jacque Vaughn—and lost the game. This still looks like a flawed team.

2) Patrick Beverley ejected near the end of Lakers’ loss to Suns

There were bright spots for the Lakers – this was the gritty play Darvin Ham wanted to see from his team. Then there was Anthony Davis, who finished with a monster line of 37 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks – his fourth 30+ point, 15+ rebound game in a row.

But it ended on an ugly note, and not just the 115-105 loss to a superior Suns team.

With just under four minutes remaining, Devin Booker fouled Austin Reaves on a drive and knocked him to the ground. Deandre Ayton was standing over Reaves after the play when Patrick Beverley made an exception, ran over and leveled Ayton from behind.

That has clearly sent Beverley off and he can expect a suspension from the competition. It was a cheap shot from behind – something Beverley has done in the past – which the league office will take into account.

After the review, Booker received a flagrant foul for the shot to Reaves’ face.

For a man, the Lakers had Beverley’s back after the game because they felt he had their back.

Booker and Mikal Bridges had 25 points each and the Suns continued their strong play to start the season with a win.

3) Yes Morant returns from ankle injury but Kings keeps rolling

Good news for the Grizzlies: Yes Morant is back.

He is expected to miss weeks with a Grade 1 ankle sprain, missing one game before returning to court and putting on a showing with 34 points.

It wasn’t enough against the best team in the NBA right now. De’Aaron Fox scored 32, while Harrison Barnes had 26 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Malik Monk had 14 off the bench, shrugging off Morant’s attempts to intimidate him at the free throw line.

The Kings won their seventh straight and have the best offense in the NBA over that stretch (second best in the league for the season, according to numbers). The Kings are 10-6, are third in the West, and this is the most optimistic thing to happen in Sacramento in a long, long time. Light the beam.

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