Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons once again proved why he is one of the rising young superstars in the league with a career night against the Washington Wizards.
The Aussie inspired the Sixers to a 118-113 win at Wells Fargo Center by posting a career-high 31 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 18 rebounds and four assists.
Despite being a doubt to play after suffering an ankle sprain in their last outing against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he took to the floor and dominated the Wizards.
The Washington players struggled to contain him all night and decided to take drastic action to try and slow him down.
Trailing by double-digits late in the game, they opted to try and exploit the biggest weakness in Simmons' game; shooting.
Head coach Scott Brooks instructed his players to employ the 'Hack-a-Shaq' tactic on the 21-year-old as he has struggled mightily from the free-throw line all season.
Coming into the contest he was shooting just 57 percent at the charity stripe and once he re-entered the game in the fourth quarter with Philly up 15, the Wizards looked to take advantage of that.
They decided to intentionally foul the point guard no matter where he was on the court and it resulted in him taking 24 free throws. In the process, this set a new NBA record for the most free-throws taken by a player in a single quarter.
Simmons made just 12-of-24 and it allowed the visitors to cut into the deficit and they got to within three points on three separate occasions in the final minutes but the 76ers managed to close the game out and secure the win.
In total, he was 15-of-29 at the foul line but speaking after the game, the young Philadelphia star brushed it off and insisted the 'Hack-a-Shaq' won't be something that happens often to him.
"I have no fear of taking free throws," Simmons said, per ESPN. "It's not going to happen for much longer. I’m going to knock them down.”
The Sixers will certainly need him to knock them down as this could easily become a technique for other teams to use to stop him getting to the rim which he seems to do with so much ease.
As a team, they also set a franchise record with 37 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and they should now expect to see more hacking during the season and in the playoffs if they make it there.
It is a glaring weakness for Simmons and as one of the team's most devastating players, opponents will not hesitate to exploit it to get him off his game.