The London Game - from a loser's point of view

 For Boston Celtics fans, the London Game was an unequivocal success, despite how it started out.

Ever wonder how it feels to blow a 22-point lead on one of the biggest stages the NBA can provide? What it's like to be playing a "home" game surrounded by fans wearing green jerseys? Or how it might feel to represent one of the more controversial approaches to team-building abroad with a loss? To be sure, these are unpleasant topics for the young Philadelphia 76ers squad to answer, but answer them they did, and with a surprising degree of poise considering what they'd just been through.

CelticsLife's UK correspondent Josh Coyne got a chance to talk to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons on these very topics in the post-game presser, which started with Simmons. For those of you who weren't aware, the league decided to count the match as a "home" game for the Sixers despite the fact Boston is closer. Asking about the preponderance of green jerseys populating the majority of seats in O2 Arena, the London venue where the tilt took place, and whether it had motivated Simmons at all, Ben replied (per Coyne):

"It was a lot different, but it was exciting. I really enjoyed it - playing here. You know, I don't think it was really a home game - I thought it was about fifty-fifty with the fans. [...] I think it was a great event [for the] NBA. We had a lot of fun coming out here. Obviously, it wasn't the result we wanted, but now we go back to the States and try and get better."

Well, it's definitely something of an understatement to say you didn't plan on losing - but kudos to you for taking it like a professional nonetheless. I think Ben's vision ought to be tested for color-blindness (or perhaps, mine? Let me know in the comments if I'm wrong here), as at least on my screen, the ratio was probably closer to a 70/30 split, and that's being generous, I think.
Regarding the now-infamous super-tanking methodology employed by the currently-unemployed former GM Sam Hinkie, Coyne asked Embiid the following:

"As an international player yourself, do you appreciate the opportunity to showcase the Process overseas, away from America?"

Knowing Josh, I'm sure he didn't mean this as a slight, but rather an earnest question. The fact remains, though, that despite the fact it has certainly produced a number of potential future All-Stars, it's produced almost as many duds, and a half-decade on the rebuild showed the team still has loads of work to do in terms of its bench - and even keeping its successful draftees on the court. Still, Embiid took the question in stride:

"Yeah, definitely. Especially [because] I'm not from America, I'm international, so for me to come here, you know, I appreciate this type of moment. I'm really pissed at myself that I didn't have a good game and that I didn't get the win while I was here, but I really want to come back to change that, but I feel like that's a good opportunity, and the past couple of days that I have been here, I had a lot of fun. I'll share this summer - I loved it. So I hope in the future, we get an opportunity to come back for another game, [...] to have a better one and win the game."

It would, in my opinion, be a lot of fun to do this again next season (though, as I have mentioned, the preseason should be shortened further, replaced with overseas exhibition games and a regular-season match or two in Europe, Mexico, Australia, China, and other locations the league is seeking to raise the sport's profile).
Whether or not it happens, I think it's safe to say these teams will be meeting each other often - perhaps as soon as in the first rounds of the Playoffs should the 76ers keep up their upward-trending record. More than anything, though, it's great to see the sport doing so well world-wide at a time when politics at home and abroad are doing so much to divide us.

For more stories by Justin, click here.

Image: Standard UK/Getty Images
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn
Follow Josh Coyne at @poundcoyne