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Philadelphia 76ers

Brett Brown on Ben Simmons career-game: 'I want a 3-point shot per game, minimum'

It was a game for the record books for the Philadelphia 76ers and their star point guard Ben Simmons.

The 76ers destroyed the Cleveland Cavaliers 141-94 - the 47-point victory was their largest margin of victory since 1982.

Simmons went for a career-high 34 points shooting an extremely efficient 12-for-14 (85.7%) from the field while knocking down the second 3-pointer of his career. The Aussie star also had seven assists, three rebounds, two blocks and two steals while going a team-best plus-32 +/-.

The most impressive note: he only needed 26 minutes to put up these career numbers.

The 76ers led by a franchise-record 41 points at halftime and Simmons had posted a career-best 26 points in the first half alone. He closed the half strong, confidently stepping into a corner 3-ball which sent the Wells Fargo Center into a frenzy. He followed that up with a thunderous alley-oop finish on a fast break and his efforts only required a mere nine minutes of playing time in the second half.

This contest was a classic example of just how good Simmons can be when he's playing with aggression. He was looking for his own shot often and setting up his teammates when the opportunity presented itself.

Granted, not having All-Star Joel Embiid in the lineup requires Simmons to step up as a scorer for this team, but it is encouraging to see him take on that role when he's called upon.

His next step is playing with that demeanor even when Embiid is in the lineup, and head coach Brett Brown spoke on Simmons playing more aggressive on the offensive end after the game.

"I want a 3-point shot a game, minimum," Brown told the media in his post-game press conference. "The pull-up twos I'm fine with what ever is open, but I'm interested in the 3-point shot."

Simmons has very slowly progressed into taking real 3-pointers this year after not attempting any real 3s in the first two seasons of his career. He made one in the preseason and made another earlier this regular season, boasting a perfect 2-for-2, 100.0% mark from 3-point range on real 3-point attempts - excluding his two heaves this season - in games that count.

But it's more than just the 3-point shooting when Brown talked about Simmons attitude on offence. It's attacking and getting to the free throw line, too.

"The mentality that he has where he's turning corners and taking that long step, that gather step, and bringing his shoulders to the rim... will equal higher efficiency or getting fouled," the Sixers head coach continued.

"That's the world that interests me the most. Those two things. When you say what's the number (of free throws)? I immediately throw out eight (attempts per game). ... That's a number that I think is attainable."

Brown wants one 3-point attempt and eight free throw attempts per game from his star point guard - both fairly reasonable requests given how much time the ball spends in Simmons' hands. But it's all for good reason. Brown just simply wants Simmons to be the best player possible and he believes achieving those two things puts their team in the best position to win.

"I'm looking at a 23-year-old young man trying to grow his game. It's completely, first, in his wheelhouse. And secondly, he will be liberated. His world will open up. And I think, in so many ways, so will ours."

The 76ers advanced to 16-7 on the season and a perfect 11-0 at home behind Simmons dominant performance. They don't have much time to settle in with the victory, as they host the defending champion Toronto Raptors tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. ET.

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