The Trail Blazers were hot from three-point range early and often against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
In fact, it looked like it was going to be their three-point shooting that would decide the game.
Damian Lillard found Anfernee Simons in the corner, and Simons calmly knocked down the three with 2.2 seconds remaining in the game to put the Blazers up 128-126.
“I knew they were going to try and double Dame, so I just wanted to stay where I was at. They doubled him… I got a good look on it and it went in,” Simons said.
The final Blazers’ play was for “everybody to space out, let Dame get it, and let him go,” according to Simons.
And with the three, it looked as though Simons was going to be the hero of the night.
Simons said he felt good about the shot when the ball left his hand.
“I thought I got a good release on it,” Simons said with a smile.
It was, however, Sixers shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz, who hit from three in the final two seconds to secure the win for Philadelphia.
Yet that made three-pointer from Simons meant a lot to this Blazers squad, especially with it being so early in the season.
“I think that’s the kind of trust and confidence that we’ve got to develop from top to bottom with everybody regardless of situation, what kind of game I might be having or he might be having,” Lillard said. “We’ve got to be able to lean on each other whether it’s the first quarter or the fourth.”
Lillard building trust in Simons really began over the offseason.
“Me and Ant worked out a lot together this summer,” Lillard said. ”I’ve got a lot of faith in him, I believe in him. He shot the ball well tonight. He was wide open and it was a higher quality shot than I probably would have got forcing it to the rim.”
Simons wasn’t surprised that Lillard had enough faith in him to take the potential game-winning bucket.
“He trusts a lot of people to take that shot. It happened to [Rodney] Hood last game in OKC, so that just shows he just trusts us knocking down the shot,” Simons said.
But here is the thing, Simons also knows he has to trust himself and have a no fear attitude in order to knock down such a shot.
“You can’t be scared in that moment right there. If you’re scared then most of the times you’ll miss it anyways… I kind of had a feeling it was going to come to me anyways, I’m a young guy and they wanted to test [me], and see if I was up to the challenge. So, you can’t have no fear in that moment,” Simons said.
The second-year player finished with 13 points in 14 minutes of action.
The Blazers will need all the scoring they can get from the fearless kid as they continue to deal with a myriad of injuries.