Ben Simmons shows he's got some 3-point range
Brian Mahoney | The Associated Press
From Chris Paul in Oklahoma City to the Portland Trail Blazers back at Memorial Coliseum, the NBA schedule had the feel of something old on Tuesday.
And it had something new, with Ben Simmons making a 3-pointer for the first time as a pro.
Simmons’ shot just before halftime was celebrated wildly in Philadelphia, where 76ers fans know they could have a championship contender if their All-Star point guard develops a reliable perimeter shot to complement all his other skills.
“I didn’t hear the crowd,” Simmons said. “I work every day and to me, it shows. I’m in the gym every day and I feel like it is paying off.”
He finished with 21 points in the 76ers’ 144-86 victory over Chinese opponent Guangzhou.
A seven-game schedule began in Japan, where the Toronto Raptors beat the Houston Rockets 134-129. They are playing two games this week at the Saitama Super Arena.
It also featured the first game in a Thunder uniform but not the first on the home team in Oklahoma City for Paul, who was traded from Houston in the deal that sent Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.
Paul spent his first two seasons in the city, winning Rookie of the Year in 2006, while the New Orleans Hornets played home games in Oklahoma City as their home recovered from Hurricane Katrina.
Paul had six points and four assists in 17 minutes of the Thunder’s 119-104 victory over Dallas, which rested Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.
Portland and Denver began their preseason schedules in the Trail Blazers’ original home. The game at Memorial Coliseum, where they spent 25 years, was part of the team’s celebration of its 50th anniversary.