PHILADELPHIA — Markelle Fultz had 10 points and eight rebounds Monday night in his first game since October, helping the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Denver Nuggets, 123-104.

The Sixers and their fans wanted the No. 1 pick to play and – after five often-confusing months – they got him.

The first pick of the 2017 draft shot an airball, had three shots blocked and artfully attacked the lane, flashing glimpses of what has made him both a mystery project and prominent prospect.

With a playoff berth clinched for the first time since 2012, the 76ers and Fultz decided the time was right to return from an injured shoulder and busted confidence that had cost him all but four games of his rookie season.

Fultz checked in to a standing ovation with 2:54 left in the first quarter and drove down the baseline for a quick basket. But Fultz – whose awkward shooting form made him a punchline in the NBA – fired an airball later in the quarter.

Fultz sparked the 76ers at times.


“It was his decision,” Coach Brett Brown said. “It’s been fluid. I get goosebumps telling you all that. I’m so proud of him. The people around him have done great things. I give that kid credit.”

Fultz played the 76ers’ first four games of the season before he was ruled out indefinitely with soreness and a scapular muscle imbalance in the shoulder.

The Sixers aren’t sure what they’ll get out of Fultz as they push toward 50 wins.

“That is a great unknown,” said the team president, Bryan Colangelo said. “I’m not sure I have the answer.”

PISTONS 112, LAKERS 106: Reggie Jackson scored 20 points, Reggie Bullock had 16 and Detroit won at home.

Detroit (34-40) won for the fourth time in five games but trails idle Miami by five games for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.


With Blake Griffin reduced to 24 minutes due to foul trouble, reserve Anthony Tolliver added 15 points as the Pistons put six players in double figures.

Julius Randle had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles, and Lonzo Ball finished with 15 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. Kyle Kuzma had 20 points and 11 boards.

HORNETS 137, KNICKS 128: Kemba Walker had 11 of his 31 points and three assists in overtime, and Charlotte won at home for its fourth straight victory.

Walker hit a late 3-pointer to help send the game into overtime and then took over.

Walker was 4 of 4 in overtime with three 3-pointers to outduel Trey Burke of New York, who finished with a career-high 42 points on 19-of-31 shooting and 12 assists.

Walker needs 20 points Wednesday night against Cleveland to pass Dell Curry as the franchise’s career leading scorer.


WIZARDS: Point guard John Wall said he feels good after a pair of full-contact practices but isn’t sure when he’ll return to game action.

Wall had surgery on his left knee Jan. 31. He said he’s lost about 10 or 15 pounds.

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