Anfernee Simons

Help Wanted! Damian Lillard can't carry this show every night

Help Wanted! Damian Lillard can't carry this show every night

Damian Lillard can’t carry this whole show every night. Not without some help. And he didn’t get much Tuesday night in Sacramento.

Lillard got 27 points on just 10 shots but even his efficiency wasn’t enough as Portland coughed up 17 turnovers and blew an early 11-point lead almost as quickly as it was built. The Kings outscored the Trail Blazers by 14 points in the third quarter and the fourth period turned into another of those defenseless final quarters for Portland. The Blazers couldn’t get stops down the stretch.

Anfernee Simons hit a three-pointer to pull Portland within five points with 2:51 to go in the game, but the Kings found two wide-open threes and a layup on their next three possessions and any thought of a Trail Blazer comeback was dashed.

“I felt like we should have had a bigger lead at halftime,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “We had some trouble with matchups in the third quarter. We couldn’t recover from that initial burst in the third quarter.”

And the turnovers?

“Some of it is carelessness,” Stotts said.  “Some of it, you have to give credit to Sacramento’s defense. Sometimes, we were trying to make plays that weren’t there.

“We did some good things, but they always had an answer for us.”

They didn’t do nearly enough good things.

“A sloppy first half, both teams turning the ball over and missing shots,” Lillard said. “A few stretches in the first half when both teams were just gassed. We dug ourselves a hole with our turnovers. They felt good (in the third quarter) about what they were doing and got energy from that. We gave ourselves a chance, but we dug too big a hole. We fouled too much. We have just got to be better about that.”

Portland’s bench made only 4 of its 15 shots and Simons had a rare off night, going 2-11 from the field with a pair of turnovers. CJ McCollum helped with 24 points but was still struggling from three, making just one of his five shots from distance. For the game, Portland was only 8-30 from long range.

In foul trouble throughout the first half, Hassan Whiteside had 17 points and seven rebounds in a little more than 20 minutes.

“Too many turnovers,” McCollum said. “Lack of execution. Gave up too many open looks down the stretch, had to play in scramble mode. I think that lack of execution throughout the game was costly.”

Injuries have cost Portland dearly at both ends of the court but that excuse doesn’t feel right when its opponents commonly are missing quality players such as De‘Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley, who sat this one out for the Kings.

And already, this team has lost by nine at Golden State and by eight at Sacramento. A perfect illustration of playing down to the opposition?

And now Wednesday they have to arrive home early in the morning to meet the defending champion Raptors, who have been in Portland waiting for them.

Everybody is talking about Anfernee Simons' offense, but what about his defense?

usatsi_13638112.jpg
USA Today Images

Everybody is talking about Anfernee Simons' offense, but what about his defense?

SACRAMENTO -- Trail Blazer guard Anfernee Simons is already known as an offensive weapon, a knockdown shooter, and a multiple scoring threat.

The second-year player is averaging 11.9 points, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from long distance.

But, it isn’t his shooting that’s on his brain these days.

Simons still thinks about that shot Kyrie Irving made over him last Friday night. The 20-year-old discussed how he’s been feeling about his defense thus far this season at Tuesday morning’s shootaround.  

“I think it’s been alright, except when Kyrie hit that shot on me… I’m still thinking about that one, but I think it’s been alright. I think I can get better at it,” Simons said.

Irving was able to hit a tough fadeaway jumper over Simons to put Brooklyn up five with 17.8 seconds remaining in last Friday night’s 119-115 loss to the Nets.

Simons’ defensive pressure on Irving did not go unnoticed by the Blazers floor general.

“He’s fearless,” Damian Lillard said after shootaround. “A lot of times when we talk about players being fearless, it’s like you think about taking a big shot or stepping up in that way, but, I mean, it’s just being able to go out there and compete against the best and he was lined up against one of the best, and he wasn’t afraid, and there wasn’t an option, and that’s the kind of person and player he is.”

“He’s also [been] going against me and CJ [McCollum] in practice for two years, so he’s prepared for it,” Lillard added.

The Blazers know what they have in Simons as far as offense goes, but at the other end of the floor, the coaching staff is still working with Ant to get better.

“The coaches have been telling me to make sure I continue to play defense,” Simons said.

Simons feels that he has made a leap from his Summer League defense to now.

“For sure, I think it’s just more knowing your personnel and knowing who you’re guarding I think that helps out a lot too,” Simons said.

McCollum agreed with Lillard that Simons has been “growing” on both ends this season.

“I think he’s done a great job continuing to learn – technique, spacing, you know, how close he should guard certain players, and how to really approach the game. I think he’s got a lot of practice in guarding Dame and I these last couple of years, learning a lot of tricks offensively and defensively to where it helps him kind of maneuvering screens. He’s growing daily. He’s very talented offensively, but he has the tools to be a really good defender as well,” McCollum said.

“We all guard each other so we’re constantly learning,"  McCollum added.

The Blazers are looking to keep their momentum going after Sunday night’s win over the Hawks as Portland takes on Sacramento.

Portland’s trio of guards will continue to learn about themselves as they take on a Kings team who is without their leader in De’Aaron Fox. Fox is dealing with a left ankle sprain.

The Blazers and Kings tip-off at 7pm tonight. You can watch all the action on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

Instant Analysis: It took overtime, but Trail Blazers get first home win of the season

Instant Analysis: It took overtime, but Trail Blazers get first home win of the season

Sunday night was a battle of two injury-riddled teams.

Trail Blazers starting small forward Rodney Hood, who is still dealing with back spasms, is the newest Blazer added to the injured list. Kent Bazemore started in place of Hood.

Vince Carter (personal), John Collins (league suspension), Chandler Parsons (knees) and Evan Turner (Left Achilles) were on the in-active list for the Hawks.

Neither team was able to get out to a big lead all night, but it was the Blazers who got the last word in overtime, earning them their first home victory in four games at Moda Center.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 124, Hawks 113 (OT)

Here are three quick takeaways from the win from our NBC Sports team at the game:

Dwight Jaynes, Insider

Anferenee Simons had a great game, but we were not really sure why he wasn’t on the floor when the team was trailing and needed some offense... It wasn't until there was 27.9 seconds remaining in the game that we saw Simons for the second to last Blazer possession. 

Mike Richman, Reporter

At this point it does not matter how the Blazers come away with wins. This one was ugly early, but they were good enough in overtime to end their losing streak. Kent Bazemore's two three-pointers to open overtime were the biggest shots of the game, and he made sure to stare down the Atlanta bench to let his former team know about it.

Jamie Hudson, Reporter

This game looked like it was going to be a track meet. The Blazers got out and ran early on. Moda Center fans were happy to see the Blazers get out to a quick start on the scoreboard as well. Portland slowed it down a bit after the first quarter, but it really wasn’t until the third quarter that the Blazers were moving the ball and getting more players involved not named Damian Lillard. Anfernee Simons took over in the third to keep the Blazers close. Portland’s defense in OT made the difference, along with two key three-pointers from Bazemore to start OT and CJ McCollum's play late in the extra period.   

Up Next: The Trail Blazers visit the Sacramento Kings for a 7:00pm tip-off on Tuesday.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Talkin' Blazers Podcast: How do we feel about the Trail Blazers three-guard lineup?

Talkin' Blazers Podcast: How do we feel about the Trail Blazers three-guard lineup?

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has been experimenting with some three-guard lineups this season that include the usual two in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and adding second-year guard Anfernee Simons into the mix. 

Normally, only two of the three would be on the floor at the same time but the trio got run in both of the last two games. 

In the latest edition of the Talkin' Blazers podcast with Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon, the topic of the three-guard lineup came up. Frye weighed in with a pretty strong stance on the grouping and the rest of the rotations:

Can you play that lineup (Dame, CJ, Ant) for more than six minutes? Heck no. Because it’s just a free reign to the basket. I think those guys (Dame, CJ) get tired holding that mode offensively. They took 46 shots between the two guys (vs. LA)… We need more from (Mario) Hezonja, we need more from Rodney Hood. The iso Rodney Hood game, I don’t know if we’re going to need that…They need a 3 and D Rodney Hood. Now I don’t know if that’s him…can he evolve into that?

Coach Stotts talked about the unique lineup during a media availability on Friday and described the quandary of wanting to have all three of them on the floor at the same time: 

They’re three guys that can all create their own shot, shoot threes… If [the opponents] have a big guy at three, that’s usual the dilemma.

A dilemma indeed, and one that Coach Stotts and his staff are going to have to toy and wrestle with throughout the early parts of the season as the Trail Blazers utilize more small ball lineups with Zach Collins, Pau Gasol and Jusuf Nurkic all sitting out with injuries with unknown return dates. 

On the latest Talkin' Blazers Podcast, in addition to the three-guard lineup, Channing and Dan discuss load management and if it should be applied to Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, if PEDs are a big issue in the NBA, who is going to step up in Zach Collins' absence and they make predictions for the upcoming Blazers schedule. Plus, Channing explains to Dan how he plays Overwatch while watching basketball.

Listen to the full Talkin' Blazers podcast below:

There are big dogs in Trail Blazer backcourt but an 'Ant' is outshooting them

There are big dogs in Trail Blazer backcourt but an 'Ant' is outshooting them

If you wanted to guess which Trail Blazer guard is shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range through the first eight games of the season, it might take you three guesses to get it right.

It’s not Damian Lillard and it’s not CJ McCollum.

But if you watched Anfernee “Ant” Simons go for 16 points in the fourth quarter Thursday night in a 107-101 Portland loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, you’d have the answer. Simons scored all but nine of his team’s 25 points in the fourth quarter while Lillard and McCollum were mysteriously each going 0-4 from the field in a scoreless quarter. For the season, the 20-year-old backup guard has made 31 of 62 shots from the field and 12 of 30 from long range.

The Trail Blazers came close to beating a very good NBA team and played well for only half the game – the second half, when Hassan Whiteside came to life and Simons kept his team in the game in the final period.

“Shots weren’t falling for me in the first half,” Simons said. “I wanted to come out in the second half and be aggressive and be who I am. I saw a couple of shots go in and it got me in a groove.”

Coach Terry Stotts stayed with him and his teammates began to look for him.

“It gave me a lot of confidence to know they believe in me,” Simons said.

Forced into small lineups, the Trail Blazers were pounded 60-40 in the paint and could have made up for it with just a few more three-point field goals. But Portland managed to go just 11-39 from three-point range, with Lillard and McCollum combining to go 4-16.

Simons played 19:24 of the 24 minutes after halftime and combined with Whiteside to score 21 of Portland’s 25 points in the final quarter.

“He was huge,” Lillard said of Simons. “It was good to see him having that type of moment in a close game. He was hitting big shots. He was aggressive. He kind of just embraced being on the floor in that time of the game. He played really well, especially in that stretch.”

Stotts echoed the praise.

“I thought Anfernee played terrific,” he said. “He made shots when we needed them. That was a bright spot.”

The Blazers, who used Lillard 38:08 and McCollum 39:33 in an effort to beat the Clippers must return to Portland to play the Brooklyn Nets Friday in Moda Center.

 

No Fear for Anfernee Simons

No Fear for Anfernee Simons

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.

Trail Blazers led 76ers for all but the most important 10.1 seconds of the game

Trail Blazers led 76ers for all but the most important 10.1 seconds of the game

The toughest losses aren’t usually the ones when your team gets blown out. They’re the ones like Portland’s 129-128 defeat Saturday night, when the Trail Blazers – undersized and undermanned – held off the Philadelphia 76ers with their best offensive performance of the season, and lost in the final 2.2 seconds on a corner three by the world-famous Furkan Korkmaz, who came into the game shooting 28.6 percent from three-point range.

The Sixers didn’t even have a lead until 10.1 seconds remained, when they got two free throws from Ben Simmons, whose wacky rotation on his free throws looks like a Clayton Kershaw slider.

But the fact is, the Trail Blazers – as well as they played on offense for about 45 minutes of the game – earned this loss.

Let me count the ways:

  • With Hassan Whiteside, Zach Collins, Pau Gasol on the sidelines with injuries, the Trail Blazers were playing a small lineup most of the game. And they were able to overcome the size disadvantage with hustle and grit, owning a 21-point lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. But then the 76ers started getting serious at both ends of the court. They turned up their defense and started ramming the ball inside on offense. It ended up as a layup drill on offense (Philadelphia hit 13 of its 18 shots on the way to a whopping 26 points in the paint in the fourth quarter.) Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers had five turnovers in the fourth quarter and wilted a bit down the stretch.
  • Portland had a 125-118 lead with 3:25 left and didn’t get another point until Anfernee Simons’ corner three-pointer with 2.6 seconds to go, that could have been a game-winner. During that scoreless 3:23, Portland missed two layups, a three-pointer and had two turnovers.
  • Korkmaz used a solid screen from Al Horford to get a wide-open three that won it for the Sixers with .4 left and Damian Lillard’s desperation three wasn’t close, as the Blazers fell to 0-2 at home.

“They did a good job,” said Portland’s CJ McCollum, acknowledging the Philadelphia defensive effort in the second half. “But we’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball. For the most part, we let them get out and run, which allowed offensive rebounds and threes. Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job. I’d like to get a couple of possessions back but up 20, we have to do a better job of closing the game out.”

Indeed, it was amazing how long Portland stayed with the Sixers on the boards. But in the end, Philadelphia finished with a 46-36 rebound edge and a 13-4 advantage on the offensive boards. Points in the point were crazy lopsided, with Philadelphia owning an 84-40 edge.

The Blazers stayed in the game with an outstanding shooting night, particularly from long range. Portland shot 57.7 percent overall and 55.9 percent from three. Mario Hezonja had 11 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in a starting role and Rodney Hood – who suffered a knee contusion in the fourth quarter – had 25 points on 9-11 shooting. Lillard was terrific from the field (11-16 and 8-11 from three) but it wasn’t quite good enough.

“We played such a great game and they just chipped away and got back into it,” Lillard said. “We let one slip. I think the way we lost sucks.”

Terry Stotts seemed to agree.

“It was tough to lose that one,” he said. “I thought we played a really good game, especially offensively. It was really the first game that our offense really got on track. That was good to see against a good defensive team.

“But the reality is, the second half we didn’t do what we needed to do defensively and we had too many turnovers.”

Will the real Anfernee Simons please stand up?

Will the real Anfernee Simons please stand up?

SACRAMENTO -- The real Anfernee Simons balled out in Sacramento.

“Staying calm,” is what Simons learned most from the first game of the season to the second game.

In the Blazers' season opener on Wednesday, Simons went 2-for-7 from the field to score just five points against the Nuggets.

But during Friday night's win in Sacramento, Simons caught fire early.

He feels like he learned a lot from game one to game two.

“The first game I was kind of erratic, so I just wanted to come into the second game, play better and be more calm… When I came out there, I was calm. I wasn’t sped up. I was getting good shots, good looks early, so I was happy to hit a couple shots,” Simons said.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was happy to see a solid performance from his young guard.

“It’s good to see him score. Obviously, that’s his strength and we didn’t have much going on that stretch and really provided some timely shooting for us,” Stotts said.   

Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside summed up Simons' performance like this: 

“He delivers -- He’s like Wal-Mart, FedEx, and Amazon."

Simons scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half, but feels like it wasn’t as if he cooled down in the second half, he was just letting the game come to him.

“Just playing it out. It was a close game. I just wanted to go out and take my time, and make sure we sustained the lead,” Simons said.

Kent Bazemore, who was a spark plug off the bench for the Blazers, was impressed with Simons’ ability to take over at point.

“Really running that second unit—that’s what we’re going to need from him out there… He’s kind of got to be able to step-up and lead the charge, and he did just that tonight,” Bazemore said.

The 19-year-old has a history with Sacramento.

Maybe it’s one of those things where Simons just enjoys playing against the Kings, and that makes him feel more comfortable and confident.

Exhibit A:

A 37-point performance to lead the Trail Blazers to a comeback win in the regular season finale over Sacramento, which also then led to a three-seed out West, which then also led to the Blazers going to the Western Conference Finals, which then also led to sweeping the Oklahoma City Thunder, and which also led to OKC’s roster getting blown up.

Or maybe it’s just like Simons said, he learned from his first game this season.

But hey, maybe it’s the Kings. TBD.

Whiteside was 'dimed,' Simons 'delivered' and, of course, it was 'Dame Time'

Whiteside was 'dimed,' Simons 'delivered' and, of course, it was 'Dame Time'

SACRAMENTO – It’s going to be a crazy season in the NBA. And not just because the Western Conference is loaded with very good teams.

Basketball is changing rapidly and it was easy to see it over the last two Portland Trail Blazer games.

The Blazers defeated the Sacramento Kings Friday night 122-112 and did so with a solid effort from several players. And while Portland made 54.1 percent of its shots from the field and the Kings hit only 42.5 percent, Sacramento stayed close or even led during the first half and part of the second by hitting three-point field goals.

Portland struggled from three in its opener, hitting only 7-28, while Denver won that game by knocking down 18-32.

Friday, the Blazers did better, hitting 11 of 30 while Sacramento was 15-37.

But just so you know, the Nuggets opened their home season Friday by edging lowly Phoenix by a single point in overtime. And Denver made only seven of its 27 three-pointers.

That folks, is what they mean when they say the NBA is a “make-or-miss league.”

The three-point field goal is often an inconsistent shot, which is going to make for some inconsistent outcomes.

But the Trail Blazers can hedge those results a little bit with their inside game, which many other NBA teams have forsaken.

Hassan Whiteside made his name in the league as a defender but so far, and its only two games, he’s been a terrific addition at the low post. He was 9-10 from the field and 4-6 from the foul line in just 26:19 against the Kings, scoring 22 points to go with nine rebounds, a block and a steal. That made him 15-17 from the field overall, with a total of 28 rebounds.

“Them guys were just finding me,” he said afterward. “Making my job easier. I was trying to just emphasize holding those screens. Those guys were just ‘diming' me up. I was just trying to finish to the best of my abilities.

“Being out there with them guys means a lot.”

It was also the first time as a teammate Whiteside has witnessed Damian Lillard closing a game out, which he did with some outside bombs.

“I already knew what time it was,” Whiteside said. “Did you know what time it was? I think we all knew what time it was.”

Whiteside converted a terrific lob from Kent Bazemore into a dunk and was fouled in the third quarter.

“That was a Carolina connection,” he said. “You put it anywhere around the rim and I’m going to get it and I don’t care who’s under it.”

Whiteside is a player you can have some fun with, for sure. Does he expect to miss just one shot per game all season?

“Playing with playmakers like that, they just make it easy,” he said. “I think when we get used to throwing the lobs, it’s going to go up even more. Probably 10 or 20 games in, you’re going to see more. I feel like if I’ve got two feet in the paint, I don’t know what the statistics are, but I feel like it’s gotta be high.”

He was asked about Anfernee Simons coming off the bench for 15 points, hitting three of his six three-point attempts.

“Man, he just comes in with that second unit and delivers like Walmart, Fedex and Amazon,” Whiteside said. “He just delivers. I love it, man.”

Lillard was his usual dependable self, hitting 12 of his 20 shots, scoring 35 points with five rebounds, five assists and three steals. He got plenty of help from Bazemore, who was brilliant off the bench with his defense, shooting, passing and rebounding.

“That was a really challenging game,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “Sacramento plays a style that’s really tough to guard. They push the tempo, they shoot threes, they played small lineups.”

And about that three-point defense…?

“It’s going to be an emphasis all year,” Stotts said. “I mean, every team shoots threes – that’s the reality. We just didn’t communicate well at times.”

Can you be outscored by 33 from long range and still win? Trail Blazers couldn't

Can you be outscored by 33 from long range and still win? Trail Blazers couldn't

The Trail Blazers found themselves in a three-point shootout on opening night at Moda Center Wednesday.

And it was a serious mismatch.

The Denver Nuggets put an end to Portland’s 18-game home-opener win streak by outscoring the Blazers by 33 points from the three-point line, pulling away over the last five minutes for a 108-100 victory.

The Blazers had a one-point lead with 4:59 to go and trailed by only one with 3:51 left before Nikola Jokic popped open for two wide-open threes to hike the lead to seven, digging a hole for the home team it couldn’t climb out of.

Jokic had been held under control all night by Hassan Whiteside, who did an outstanding job of defending him on the inside but didn’t get out to him on those three-point shots. Jokic scored 16 of his 20 points in the final quarter. He played only 3:45 of the first half because of foul trouble but Portland didn’t capitalize much in his absence.

But the game was decided – like so many these days in the NBA – at the three-point line. Portland managed to hit just 7-28 from distance while the Nuggets were 18-32. It’s almost impossible to win a game with that sort of long-range disparity and halfway amazing the Blazers stayed as close as they did, considering they also had 20 turnovers.

The Blazers got little offensive help from their bench. The reserves were 6-22 from the field, including 0-7 from long range.

“Well, obviously, it’s disappointing to lose a home opener,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “The other obvious thing is the three-point shot is the great equalizer.”

It didn’t equalize anything Wednesday night, it decided it.

“They shot it really well,” Stotts said. “… the way the game is going, we’ve got to be able to defend the three better. That was a concern in the preseason and it was tonight.”

It would seem that the Blazers should be able to do a better job of perimeter defense with Hassan Whiteside patrolling the middle. In his first game as a Blazer, Whiteside had 19 rebounds, two blocks and 16 points in 26:03. But Denver got too many open looks.

But before Trail Blazer fans start fretting over the 82-game season, there were still several positives to take away from the game:

  • The play of Whiteside, who also made six of his seven shots.
  • Kent Bazemore’s five steals, including three on consecutive Denver possessions in the second quarter.
  • Skal Labissiere made three of his four shots and scored eight points to go with six rebounds.
  • The Blazers outscored the Nuggets 23-7 on second-chance points.
  • The law of averages. McCollum went 5-18. Bazemore was 1-7, Mario Hezonja was 0-3 and Anfernee Simons was 2-7. Those players will shoot better than that most of the time. And it wouldn’t have taken too much better to pull out a win.