Sixers-Nuggets observations, 'best' and 'worst': Markelle Fultz's presence, Robert Covington's game, Ben Simmons' milestone

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Ben Simmons (middle) set a Sixers rookie record Monday night.

Here are my main takeaways and “best” and “worst” awards from the 76ers’ 123-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Five observations

  • Markelle Fultz made history in his first game since Oct. 23.  The Sixers point guard finished with 10 points, eight assists, four rebounds and one turnover in 14 minutes, 24 seconds. He became the first player to have 10-plus points and eight-plus assists in 15 minutes or less since Danny Ainge and  Tom Garrick did so as opponents on Nov. 11, 1990. The only other players to post such statistics in a game since the 1963-64 season are Hall of Famers Walt Hazzard and John Stockton.
  • Philadelphia loves Fultz. The rookie received a standing ovation when he checked into the game with 2:54 remaining in the first quarter. With 3:20 left to play, the crowd chanted, “We want Fultz,” as he rested on the bench. Then, as he stood at the scorer’s table with 2:42 left, the fans chanted, “Markelle Fultz,” before they chanted, “Fultz,” while clapping their hands. They were mimicking the Minnesota Vikings’ Skol chant.
  • T.J. McConnell‘s tenure as a point guard might be over for the season. With the addition of Fultz, McConnell is listed as the third-string point guard. However, he was actually the backup shooting guard on this night.  Expect him to get a chunk of his minutes off the ball for the rest of the season.
  • The Sixers are a rebounding machine.  They grabbed 54 rebounds Monday, marking the 24th time they had 50 or more rebounds this season. That’s their most since accomplishing that feat in 33 games during the 1982-83 season.
  • Joel Embiid recorded his 29th 20-point, 10-rebound performance of the season. The all-star center had 20 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks against the Nuggets.

‘Best’ and ‘worst’ awards

  • Best performance: I’m giving this to Robert Covington, even though Fultz was the headliner and Embiid and Ben Simmons had double-doubles. Covington made 4 of 8 three-pointers en route to scoring 18 points  He also had a steal and a blocked a shot and graded out at a game-best plus-23.
  • Worst performanceDevin Harris, the Nuggets’ reserve point guard, missed five of six shots en route to scoring five points.
  • Best defensive performance: Ersan Ilyasova gets this. The Sixers reserve power forward had a game-high three blocks to go with one steal.
  • Worst statistic: This goes to the Nuggets’ shooting 61.8 percent from the foul line.
  • Best statistic: This goes to Simmons’ 11 assists. The Sixers point guard’s 577 assists this season are the most by a rookie in team history. His second assist (No. 568) broke Allen Iverson’s rookie record.