Durant feels 'everybody wants to see our team fail'
Kevin Durant feels "everybody" wants to see the Brooklyn Nets fail after Ben Simmons' homecoming against the undermanned Philadelphia 76ers ended in a disappointing 115-106 road defeat on Tuesday.
The 76ers were missing Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey through injury, but they were able to catch fire from deep, shooting 50 per cent from the three-point line (16-of-32).
In a hostile environment for the Nets, the Philadelphia crowd aggressively booed Simmons every time he touched the ball, although he performed well, collecting 11 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
For the 76ers, Tobias Harris stepped up into an increased workload and delivered a team-high 24 points on 10-of-21 shooting, while De'Anthony Melton, Georges Niang and Shake Milton combined for 54 points on 12-of-19 from long-range.
It was a golden opportunity for the full-strength Nets to pull their record even at 9-9, but they are now two games below .500 at 8-10.
When asked if he felt the crowd took extra delight in getting one over Simmons and the Nets, Durant said he feels every away crowd has added animosity towards his team.
"It's a lot of emotions [for Simmons coming back to Philadelphia], you always want to play well," he said. "You know the fans are going to be involved… and bring their best.
"But that's at every arena, everybody wants to see our team fail – nobody likes Ben, nobody likes 'Ky' [Irving], nobody likes myself – so it might be like that at every road arena.
"It's just something we've got to deal with, but I thought [Simmons] did a great job at handling it and playing his game. We had a chance to win, but we just didn't."
Durant added that he did not feel the Nets played a poor defensive game, but were too slow to adjust to the 76ers' hot shooting.
"It's the same s***," he said. "They had 20 more shots than us, and seven more three-pointers. That's the game.
"[We have to] just go do it. Just go do what we need to do. Rebound, box out, move the ball, guard up one-on-one.
"They shot 43 per cent from the field, which is not bad. But they shot 50 per cent from the three-point line, and a lot of those were crossover, step-back threes – they're just back-breakers.
"I wouldn't necessarily say we had a horrible defensive night, but they out-rebounded us – 20 offensive rebounds – and they made 16 threes, and it looked bad.
"We would make them shoot a tough shot, they get a rebound and hit a three. We botch a switch maybe, and a guy gets a little bit of space and he shoots over a contest. They knocked them down tonight.
"Early on we should have seen they were hot, so we had to get up into them and force them inside the three-point line.
"But they played free, and they had nothing to lose, so those shots are just going to feel better when they leave their hands. We had to make them miss tonight, and they hit them, you have to give them credit."