Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets joke about Ben Simmons fouling out of preseason game

MINNEAPOLIS — Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash couldn’t help but giggle as Ben Simmons went on the bench in just 13 minutes after fouling in a 112-102 preseason win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

“I said, ‘You might as well go straight to the wheel and do some conditioning,'” Nash said after the game. “I don’t think he was ready for the joke.”

Simmons, who finished with two points, six assists and two rebounds, was incredulous about several of the calls — particularly the last one at 10:26 in the third quarter. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the fastest he had ever fouled in a professional game. Several of Simmons’ teammates laughed on the bench as he walked over, still pleading his case to anyone who would listen.

“I was just speaking to the umpires and obviously I was in tune with that – one night you play them [Milwaukee] Bucks and play a physical game and then you play the Wolves and it’s not that physical. So there’s a lot you can’t afford, but overall I think we played great as a team, we moved the ball. We find our identity.”

Simmons had a lengthy first-half chat with official Nick Buchert, which at one point included teammate Kyrie Irving, when the two ended the conversation laughing at what they felt was a quick whistle.

“Obviously I probably wouldn’t be laughing if it was the regular season, but it’s the preseason,” Simmons said.

“Honestly, they also get used to seeing certain things on the ground,” Simmons said. “But I don’t mind, I might as well capitalize on the fouls. I got six of those so I’m trying to be physical and show my presence to my teammates because I feel like that’s going to be a big responsibility of my, bring that energy, that physicality and set the tone for ours team on.”

Irving said that while he had previously seen a teammate foul faster when he was younger, he had never seen anyone on any of his NBA teams foul so quickly.

“Yes, that was the first time [here],” said Irving. “But it’s preseason. He knows he wasn’t necessarily locked up like he could have been, I think some of the calls could have gone either way. But it’s a learning experience for him and for us as a team. And we just joked about it the whole game, but obviously we wanted him to get a few minutes tonight so we can really grow. We still did, but of course we would have liked to have had Ben out there.”

Despite the quick exit, Simmons made some positive strides last week, helping the Nets find their offensive rhythm ahead of Wednesday night’s regular season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans. Nash noted that he felt Simmons “really started to corner in the last few games.”

“I would sum it up in one simple word: patience,” Irving said of the preseason. “We came in, a lot of noise from outside, had to calm that down and then focus on showing each other why we deserve to win every night. This starts internally and then in the team environment.

“Just being willing to be uncomfortable is what we’ve heard [Markieff Morris] say that often But I think it just goes further than being uncomfortable, it’s just willing to be flexible, adapt on the fly and learn things that will help us now in the long run.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34797999/steve-nash-brooklyn-nets-joke-ben-simmons-fouling-out Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets joke about Ben Simmons fouling out of preseason game

Emma Bowman

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