12:46 PM PT -- Sources familiar with the situation tell TMZ Sports the fans were getting increasingly verbally aggressive towards other fans in the arena ... and began to direct their taunts at the nearby Chinese basketball players.
We're told the decision was then made by arena staff to remove the fans ... feeling the situation could pose a security concern.
The 76ers are explaining why 2 fans with "Free Hong Kong" signs were kicked out of Tuesday's game against a Chinese basketball team ... saying the couple was a "disruption of the fan experience."
A man and woman -- holding signs and wearing pro-Hong Kong protester shirts -- were escorted out of the Wells Fargo Center in Philly during the first half of the Sixers' game against the Guangzhou Loong Lions.
The Sixers released a statement Wednesday breaking down the Wells Fargo Center staff's decision to eject the fans ... claiming they were warned several times to keep the peace.
"At last evening’s game, following multiple complaints from guests and verbal confrontations with others in attendance, two individuals were warned by Wells Fargo Center staff about their continuing disruption of the fan experience," the team said in a statement.
“Ultimately, the decision was made by Wells Fargo Center personnel to remove the guests from the premises, which was accomplished without incident.”