ATLANTA - Markelle Fultz put the Hawks on a poster.
The Sixers rookie took off from what felt like half court (OK, so it was closer than that) for a two-handed slam over Damion Lee that emphasized on thing: he's back.
"I was getting a lot of complaints from my teammates that I do a lot of dunking in warmups and stuff," Fultz said after the Sixers' 101-91 win (see observations). "They were like, ‘You need to start dunking in games.' So that's the first thing I thought of when I caught the ball, ‘Just go up and dunk it.'"
The play began with 8:33 remaining in the first half when Fultz swiped the ball from John Collins. Amir Johnson grabbed it and dished across half court to a running Fultz, who didn't realize a defender was approaching.
"I didn't even know the guy was there," Fultz said. "It just happened to be a poster. I'm just glad I got the two points."
The Sixers were only up 30-29 at the time. Fultz wanted to give the offense a boost with the highlight play.
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"Hopefully bring some excitement to the team, some energy," Fultz said of his mindset. "I think at the point we were a little stagnant, so just try to bring some energy and get back on defense."
That dunk was two of Fultz's 10 points. The guard added one rebound and two steals on the night. He shot 4 for 8 from the field in 19 minutes during his third game back from a right shoulder injury.
"We're trying to get his conditioning up," Brett Brown said. "I played him in extended minutes … I thought he was OK. I thought made some big plays, he had that incredible dunk. He comes up with loose balls when you think he's completely out of the play. He's so long he ends up with the ball or a deflection to let one of his teammates get the ball. I think he's getting better."
How would Fultz's teammates evaluate that play?
"He should have jumped higher," Ben Simmons said with a smile. "He's a freak of nature. I'm happy for him. I'm happy he's playing well. He's going to be a big part of this team."