Ben Simmons continues to build an army of admirers after unleashing a developing jump shot while leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a drought-breaking 115-107 NBA win over the Houston Rockets.
The Newcastle Hunters junior had a career-high 24 points and added nine assists and seven rebounds on Tuesday morning (AEST) as the emerging 76ers claimed their third win in their past four games after starting 0-3.
It was the franchise’s first victory against the Rockets in their last nine meetings and the first in Houston since February 2011.
Continuing to direct traffic from point guard, the 208-centimetre Simmons was pitted against the Rockets' free-scoring All Star James Harden, who had 29 points.
Simmons’ partnership with big man Joel Embiid, 22 points and nine rebounds, is also gathering momentum.
Having missed all of last season with injury after being the No.1 draft pick, 22-year-old Simmons is averaging 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists from seven games.
In Houston, Simmons made 10 of 15 shots, many of them from mid-range.
"I'm comfortable taking them," Simmons said of jump shots.
"I've got to start doing that more often."
When asked why he took more jumpers than he had in his first six games, Simmons' teammate Amir Johnson answered first.
"People don't know he can shoot," Johnson said. "Buckets."
Coach Brett Brown said Simmons' ability to reliably make jump shots will complement his ability to drive or use his length in the paint, making him even more effective.
"I'm really leaving the whole evolution of his jump shot -- when he wants to shoot it, when he feels comfortable shooting it -- with him," Brown said.
"When he feels the confidence to shoot things and people sag off of him, he's going to shoot it. If he doesn't, so be it, he'll go find another way to impact the game. It's coming."
Simmons is shooting 51 percent through his first seven games but has struggled at times outside of the paint and has missed all four 3-point attempts.
In Boston, the Celtics beat the San Antonio Spurs 108-94 to improve their record to 5-2 after their fifth win on the trot.
The Spurs have dropped their past three after they started the season 4-0.
Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 24 points while the Celtics' Aron Baynes (six points and five rebounds) won the bragging rights over his Australian countryman Patty Mills (seven points and four assists).
Elsewhere, Utah's Boomers swingman Joe Ingles had a poor shooting night but contributed on the boards and dished out six assists as the Jazz beat the Dallas Mavericks 104-89.
Defending champions Golden State beat the LA Clippers 123-97.
Monday's other winners were the New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves.