Ben Simmons has been tested lately.
Not by opposing teams for basketball purposes, per say. Though the Celtics and Raptors have proven to be stiff competition for the Sixers over the last week.
But his temper has certainly been tested quite a bit.
In near altercations that nearly led to fights, Markieff Morris, a Boston forward last week in London, and Kyle Lowry, a Toronto guard Monday in Philly, each had some choice words for the Sixers’ rookie. The latter actually led to Simmons and Lowry being tossed from Monday’s Sixers victory (with just a few seconds remaining in the game, which had more or less been decided already).
“I think they’re just trying to test me,” the 6-foot-10 point-forward said. “I don’t play around. I am not going to take shit from anybody.”
Is there any pattern to the two instances? Perhaps there is, with a “Philly tough” connection.
“It’s been two Philly guys so maybe it’s a Philly thing,” Simmons said, noting that Lowry went to Villanova while Morris grew up in Philly before going to Kansas. “They’re tough players, I am the same way, I am not going to let you push me around and say whatever you want.”
The back-and-forth started earlier in the game, when T.J. McConnell refused to step down after Demar DeRozan got in his face in the first half after a small shove.
“It’s basketball that kind of stuff happens,” McConnell said. “I thought the shove wasn’t needed but I know he had no intent behind it, he’s a good guy it was some heat of the moment stuff.”
In true Sixers’ style — in the mold of the always trash talking Joel Embiid — Simmons couldn’t help but take a parting shot.
“Honestly I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe frustration that they’re down, about to lose, I don’t know what it is.”