NBA superstar Ben Simmons has done it again, sink a three-point shot that is. And his coach wants him to keep on firing.
The Philadelphia 76ers ace was just adding the icing on the cake of a career-high 34-points performance, two more than his previous best, in a 141-94 drubbing of Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I was locked in,” Simmons said.
Simmons got the game off to a thunderous start with an uncontested dunk before he lit up the court with his trademark dunks and drives to the basket.
He recorded 14 points in the first quarter to represent a team season-high and then got to a career-best 26 points before the main break.
By the end of the game the All-Star added seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks to his stat sheet in just 26 minutes.
He was 12 of 14 from the field, including his lone three-point attempt and even a mid-range jumper, and nine of 12 from the free-throw line.
With three minutes 45 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Australian star took an uncontested catch-and-shoot three-pointer from the left wing and found nothing but the bottom of the net to send the home crowd wild.
The 23-year-old then finished an alley-oop with a two-handed slam on the next possession.
“I’m getting more comfortable learning my spots and just adjusting,” Simmons said.
“I’m trying not to force it, trying to play the game I know how to play. Hard work pays off. Stay in the gym and keep working.”
Simmons has now made two shots from beyond the arc in his career, his first coming last month, after having gone none of 17 in his first two seasons in the league.
Coach Brett Brown has repeatedly said shooting is a part of Simmons’ game that will develop.
After Saturday’s performance, Brown publicly upped the ante and called for more from his point guard.
“This is what I want,” Brown said.
“I want a three-point shot per game, minimum. … He will be liberated. His world will open up and, in many ways, so will ours.”
Mike Scott and Trey Burke chipped in with 21 points each as the Sixers (16-7) extended their unbeaten streak at home this season to 11.
Meanwhile Boomer Joe Ingles had a double-double as his Utah Jazz accounted for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Ingles had 12 points and 10 rebounds in his 27 minutes as the Jazz won 126-112 to stop a three-game skid. Donovan Mitchell added 22 points for Utah while Jaren Jackson had 26 for the Grizzlies.
Elsewhere the Dallas Mavericks routed New Orleans Pelicans 130-84, the Indiana Pacers edged New York Knicks 104-103 and Russell Westbrook had a triple-double for the Houston Rockets who beat the Phoenix Suns 115-109.