Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers tipped off their pre-season campaign with a 144-86 win over the Guangzhou Loong-Lions at Wells Fargo Center.
The point guard was at his attacking best, recording 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists on 9-of-14 shooting from the field in just 21 minutes on court and he had the home crowd on their feet just before half-time, draining the first three-pointer of his career.
Ben Simmons pulls up and drains it from way downtown 🎯🎯🎯 #NBAPreseason pic.twitter.com/9wJwAO6FFP- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) October 9, 2019
Simmons' triple put the 76ers up 82-41 at the half, with the Aussie scoring 19 of his 21 points in the first half.
"Time went down and I had the ball, so I took the shot," Simmons said post-game. "I didn't hear the crowd. I work every day and to me, it shows. I'm in the gym every day and I feel like it is paying off."
Prior to today, Simmons was 0-of-18 from beyond the arc in his first two NBA seasons, mostly coming on half-court heaves. As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, Simmons' last made three came on 30 November 2015 during his college days with LSU, the lone three-pointer of his college career.
Ben Simmons made a 3-pointer tonight against the Guangzhou Long-Lions, but he's still searching for his first career 3-pointer against an NBA team.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 9, 2019
Simmons' last three came on Nov. 30, 2015 at Charleston while he was at LSU. That was the only three he made in his college career. pic.twitter.com/FblIefGOLM
While it was only a pre-season game against non-NBA competition, Philly fans got their first look at the new starting lineup, with head coach Brett Brown deploying Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Joel Embiid, with the super-sized lineup appearing every bit the team that could finish with the league's best defence.
Embiid chipped in 17 points in just 13 minutes on court, while the newly-acquired Richardson appears to be a seamless fit at the two-guard, adding 16 points on 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, much to the delight of Simmons.
"It was fun. I love playing with him," Simmons added.
"Off the court, he's a great person and on it, he's a dog. Defensively, he's amazing and offensively he's athletic and knocking down shots."
The 76ers continue their pre-season on Saturday, from 10:30am AEDT when they take on the Charlotte Hornets.