Simmons snags another piece of history
BEN Simmons contributed with a double-double, as Markelle Fultz accumulated 10 points and eight rebounds in his first NBA game since October, in the Philadelphia 76ers' 123-104 defeat of the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.
Simmons had just seven points but pulled down 13 rebounds and provided 11 assists as Philadelphia edged to fourth in the eastern conference.
In the process, the Australian trumped 76ers legend Allen Iverson's record for most assists in a rookie season.
The Sixers and their fans wanted No.1 draft pick Fultz to play and after five often-confusing months they got him.
The first selection 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 Philadelphia having clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2012, Fultz decided the time was right to return from the injured shoulder and busted confidence that had cost him all but four games of his rookie season.
Fultz sparked the 76ers at times in a reserve role, adding eight assists in a 14-minute cameo.
"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."
Joel Embiid had 20 points and 13 rebounds, including perhaps his dunk of the season on a one-handed jam over Paul Millsap, and Dario Saric added 20 points. Will Barton led Denver with 25 points.
Wayne Selden scored 23 points and Marc Gasol accumulated 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as the Memphis Grizzlies surprised the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-93.
The Grizzlies won for just the second time in 25 games to stun the Timberwolves, who are eighth in the western conference.
Jeff Teague had 25 points and seven assists for Minnesota while Karl-Anthony Towns had his league-leading 62nd double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Reggie Jackson scored 20 points to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 112-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, keeping their faint playoff hopes alive.
Julius Randle had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles while Lonzo Ball finished with 15 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds and Kyle Kuzma registered 20 points and 11 boards.
Kemba Walker had 11 points of his 31 points and three assists in overtime as the Charlotte Hornets outlasted the New York Knicks 137-128.
Dwight Howard had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets.
- with AP