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The Nuggets were outscored by 19 points in the 3rd quarter as the Sixers won 123-104 in Philly

The Nuggets were outscored by 19 points in the 3rd quarter as the Sixers won 123-104 in Philly
Posted at 9:25 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 23:25:55-04

PHILADELPHIA -- Markelle Fultz heard 20,000 fans chanting "Fultz! Fultz! Fultz!" and for a fleeting moment he thought they were serenading Philly's most popular athlete.

"I thought they were saying `Nick Foles," Fultz said of the Super Bowl MVP for the champion Philadelphia Eagles.

"Then I realized it, and it was pretty dope. These fans are great, and I love them."

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

Fultz scored 10 points and had eight assists in his first game since October, helping the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Denver Nuggets 123-104 on Monday night.

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.

Joel Embiid had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Ben Simmons had 11 assists for the Sixers.

Will Barton led Denver with 25 points.

Embiid had perhaps his dunk of the season on a one-handed jam over Paul Millsap. Embiid raised the roof in celebration as the crowd roared and the replay was still on the big screen when the Sixers got the ball back and JJ Redick buried a 3.

Nuggets: Denver scored only 15 points in the third and blew an eight-point halftime lead. ... Jamal Murray had 17 points and Millsap 16.

"They got their defense into the game in the third quarter and we didn't handle it well," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "We started becoming tentative. We started playing against the shot clock."

The Nuggets are still in the 9th position in the West, a game and a half back of Minnesota for the final playoff spot.