Markelle Fultz continued to find his stride Wednesday in just his second game back from a months-long shoulder injury.
“I felt like I had more of a rhythm,” Fultz said. “I felt like when I came in, I contributed on both ends of the floor, and that’s all I could ask for.”
Fultz posted three points, seven assists, five rebounds, one steal, one block and no turnovers in 13:35 during the Sixers’ 118-101 win over the Knicks (see observations). His offensive production dipped from Monday’s 5-for-13 performance, shooting 1 for 5 from the field including three misses at the basket.
However, it wasn’t the made or missed field goals that stood out the most. He attempted that shot … you know, the one that has been under a microscope for what feels like years now. Fultz took free throws in an NBA game for the first time since Oct. 21. The result: one made, one missed.
“I’ve been doing a lot of practice shooting free throws,” Fultz said. “I felt confident going there. I made the first one, missed the second, but it felt good.”
Fultz has shown he isn’t hesitant to attempt jumpers, drive the basket or be aggressive as a shot creator. Brett Brown noted his 15 assists to just one turnover in two games. He credited Fultz for being proactive in his return.
“I think he will get back on track quicker I think maybe than he does, maybe than most do,” Brown said. “I do stand by my belief that he can help us.”
Veteran JJ Redick has been impressed by the way Fultz has played considering he is a rookie coming off a long layoff and the pressures that come along with it. Redick assessed him “a hundred” for the way he has handled those factors.
“He’s been fantastic,” Redick said. “He’s been all over the court. You saw him make winning plays today … I just think he’s been phenomenal.”
Fultz sees work that still has to be done. He aims to improve both offensively and defensively, where he sees his length as an advantage. The 19-year-old wanted to return this week to help the team and he will focus on ways to do that.
“We’re getting Ws, so I think I’m doing something well,” Fultz said. “It’s going to happen. I’m not going to be perfect every game. All I can wish for is go out there and play my hardest and live with the results. But I think it’s been going in the right direction.”