By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff
The Philadelphia 76ers (12-7) won their ninth home game in a row to start the season on Monday, taking care of a pesky Phoenix Suns (3-13) team that gave them a run for their money. Joel Embiid had another monster games, scoring 33 points to go along with 17 rebounds, but the main story coming out of Wells Fargo Center was Brett Brown's decision to go with T.J. McConnell as the back-up point guard in the second half over Markelle Fultz. Could this be the trend moving forward?
"I don't know," said Brown when talking to the media after Monday's win.
When asked how he would make the decision moving forward, this is how he responded:
"Just when I think it through deeper and look at tape and see who we're playing, the next opponent, all those things I should do."
The Sixers have had Markelle Fultz serve as the back-up point guard to Ben Simmons for the majority of the season, even when he was starting. Fultz would go to the bench with the first batch of subs, and then come back when Simmons needed a rest. Fultz went scoreless in seven minutes against the Suns, missing both shots that he took while tallying three personal fouls. The former top pick obviously wants to be out there, but won't be seen pouting on the bench.
"It's not like I'm sitting on the bench pouting or anything. I want to be out there, but I'm going to root for my teammates."
McConnell got a rousing ovation when he entered the game with less than 30 seconds in the first half. Brown decided to go with T.J. in the second because he said the team looked "flat" in the first half and they needed some energy. McConnell picked up right where he left off, playing full-court defense and injecting energy into every play. He only finished with two points, two steals and an assist in nine minutes, but you could feel the difference when he was out there with regard to the intensity. T.J. has been an avid supporter of Markelle and Fultz plans to do the same for McConnell no matter what happens moving forward.
"Our relationship is more than teammates," said Fultz. "We both want to see each other do well, and we want to see the team win, so anytime one of us step on the court, we are probably rooting for each other more than most people. That's how it is."
We'll see whether it's Fultz or McConnell with back-up duties when the Pelicans visit Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night.