With 3:05 remaining in the first half and the 76ers up six points, Pelicans fans began the “Where’s Ben Simmons?” chant.
Simmons’ status with the team has been in the spotlight since his abrupt return to the organization last week. The star point guard spent the season away from the team and reportedly requested a trade after last season’s debacle in the playoffs.
The team suspended Simmons from the Pelicans game for conduct detrimental to the team on Tuesday. He reportedly refused to play as a full participant during Tuesday’s practice, so head coach Doc Rivers kicked him out and suspended him.
“Every day, every single moment, I’m going to give Ben a chance to join the team and be part of the team,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s under contract to be part of the team and that’s not going to change. Sometimes it happens quick and guys join back in. Sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve been in both situations and I’m fine with that.”
The ever-evolving situation between Simmons and the 76ers became a focal point for Pelicans fans.
Philadelphia would get the last laugh, defeating New Orleans 117-97. Joel Embiid had 22 points and 12 rebounds, Furkan Korkmaz hit four three-pointers in the fourth quarter to also score 22 points.
The Associated Press contributed to this report