Ben Simmons — 3-point specialist?
Not quite yet, but the Philadelphia 76ers point guard showed off his new shooting stroke at the end of the first half against the Guangzhou Long Lions on Tuesday night, drilling a deep 3-pointer in the final seconds of the second quarter. The reaction of the crowd and the Sixers players made it look like a game-winner.
Check out the shot below.
During media day, Simmons spoke on adding a long overdue 3-point shot to his game during media day, delivering a statement that is shocking considering his timidness in the past.
“It’s part of the game,” Simmons told reporters. “If it’s open, I’ll take it.”
He wasn’t lying. Guangzhou left him open and Simmons drilled it.
Simmons has long been criticized for his lack of a reliable jump shot, which has limited how he can effect games. He hasn’t made a single attempt from 3-point range in his career and has passed up even wide open opportunities.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown said he’s been impressed in the progress Simmons has made in that department. Brown told Philly Voice about what he’s seen so far.
“The time that he has invested over the course of this summer is the best by a longshot that he ever has,” Brown said. “His awareness of this thing in the marketplace, he’s prideful, he gets it. His confidence that I saw when he came back to Philadelphia and played in our gym over the last few weeks just stood out, it shone as if he had invested time and he was looking forward to showing us.”
Simmons had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in the first half against Guangzhou.
Matisse Thybulle Impresses in Preseason Debut
Long, strong, scary. That’s the impression the Philadelphia 76ers left as they dominated the Long Longs, doubling them up 82-41 in the first half.
Sure, it’s a preseason game against an inferior opponent. But getting a glance at how the starting lineup will look with the additions of Al Horford and Josh Richardson and a semblance of how the rotation might look was telling.
James Ennis and Matisse Thybulle were the first Sixers off the bench, and the 20th overall pick in the draft did not disappoint. There had been a lot of talk about the tenaciousness and defensive ferocity of Thybulle — the two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year — in practice and he showed it off often and early in his preseason debut.
In 11 minutes, Thybulle had 7 points to go with 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks.
Game With Chinese Opponent Goes on Despite Tensions After Daryl Morey Tweet
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has caused a stir with his tweet earlier this week showing support for the Hong Kong protesters and the NBA has quickly tried to mend its relationship with China.
Commissioner Adam Silver spoke about the incident on Tuesday and said he “regrets” how many Chinese people and NBA fans were upset by the now-deleted tweet. The comments came on as Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said it will no longer air two NBA preseason games between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets.
There were some early questions if the 76ers game against Guangzhou Long Lions would go on, seeing as they play in the Chinese Basketball Association. However, team spokesperson and Sr. Vice President of Communications Dave Sholler assured pregame that it would in fact go on.
“The game will go on as planned,” Sr. Vice President of Communications and team spokesman Dave Sholler said on Monday. “We played in China last year, and it was an incredible experience for our team and our organization, we felt that support all of last year into this year. We love our fans there, their passion and intensity they have for our sport, and I think most importantly the game of basketball possesses an incredible power to bring people together. And as we play the Lions together, that’s what this is about.
“It’s a complex issue. We met this morning with our team and our coaches, and under Elton Brand’s leadership we have very thoughtful dialogue throughout the course of the year on a variety of issues, whether it’s societal issues, game issues, sports issues, whatever it may be. From our perspective, we think the opportunities we have in China are fantastic, we love the support that we’ve seen, and tomorrow is a fantastic opportunity to showcase that.”