first_imgIt was the type of performance one might have imagined when the 76ers drafted him No. 1 overall in 2017.And it was the type of performance that almost no one would have imagined during the two seasons he spent in Philadelphia, when a perplexing nerve condition in his neck and shoulder destroyed his jump shot and put his future in doubt.“It was huge, a big milestone,” Fultz told reporters Wednesday night after the win over the Lakers. “I think it just shows that I’m a No. 1 pick. I let my game do the talking.”That is, indeed, the case, Orlando coach Steve Clifford said of Fultz, who is just 21.“He works; he’s a throwback guy,” Clifford said. “The younger players in our league have become more and more challenging, because they’re younger and they have less experiences and, say, even 10 years ago, most of the younger guys you got in the league had performed well in college. LOS ANGELES — Add Doc Rivers to the quite-crowded Happy For Markelle Fultz Club.“I’m just very happy for him,” the Clippers coach said before his squad took on Fultz’s Orlando Magic on Thursday night at Staples Center. “I don’t want to be too happy for him tonight – but it was fun watching him (Wednesday) night.”On Wednesday, Fultz was the hero for the short-handed Magic. He finished with his second career triple-double (21 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds) and came through with the clutch plays down the stretch in an unlikely victory over the Lakers at Staples Center, where Orlando snapped their nine-game winning streak and handed LeBron and Co. their first loss to a team with a sub-.500 record this season.The Lakers didn’t make it easy, rallying from a 21-point deficit to take a four-point lead in the fourth quarter – when Fultz scored six points on 3-for-4 shooting and recorded four assists. “Now you get a lot of guys who, frankly, haven’t even played well, you know, except in AAU, and yet they want to be treated as if they had. He’s the opposite of that. He understands that the NBA is about performing, that you’re gonna get what you earn.”Clippers guard Rodney McGruder was watching when Fultz went to work Wednesday, just as he – and the rest of the NBA – has been watching as the former Washington star muddled through his first two professional seasons.“He looked good last night, and that’s just a testament to his work ethic, and his confidence in himself and whoever’s around him, they’re keeping him afloat through the tough times he has in Philly,” McGruder said. “You root for everyone who’s trying to overcome anything, I’m happy to see him have success.”Just not too much success Thursday.PAUL GEORGE WILL TRAVELAlthough forward Paul George missed his fourth consecutive game on Thursday with a hamstring strain he suffered in practice on Jan. 8, Rivers said the Clippers’ star was expected to join the team on their six-game trip. The excursion begins Saturday in New Orleans and concludes Jan. 28 at Staples Center, when they’ll be the “visitors” against the Lakers.“He’s goin’ on the trip,” said Rivers, who didn’t have much more to report other than George did some shooting at Thursday morning’s shootaround session.The Clippers are 9-6 without George in the lineup. George – who is averaging 23.5 points, 6 rebounds and 3.7 assists – also missed the first 11 games while he finished rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgeries.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more