The five-game sprint to the finish line begins with tonight's second-to-last back-to-back of the season in Detroit against the Pistons, after blowing out the Nets last night in Philadelphia.

Sixers coach Brett Brown stressed that his team is well aware of where they sit with just five games left in the season.

While the team is well aware of how important this stretch of games is, they also are willing to try some different things, and that was on display last night when fans got a chance to see a pair of No. 1 overall picks on the floor, playing together, Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons.

"I mean if it helps the team that’s the biggest thing," Fultz said about the pairing. "That’s my only goal is just helping this team win and if that’s going to help the team win, I’m looking forward to it."

"It's fun," Ben Simmons added. "Just give him the ball and let him do his thing. Makes it easier for me."

The Fultz-Simmons backcourt will be something to pay attention to during this important stretch.

Fultz scored 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 21 minutes of action and Simmons registered 15 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and a steal in just 25 minutes of work.

"I don't know if you can make anything of the few minutes it was, but they are going to play together at some point, consistently," Sixers guard J.J. Redick said after the win over Brooklyn. "Obviously, we need to surround both of them with shooting, but they are both intelligent enough and athletic enough that they can figure it out and they will figure it out."

While Fultz admitted he is getting more comfortable, and learning to play with his teammates, Brown said said he’s surprised at how well Fultz as played on the defensive end of the floor. 

"Defensively, I think Markelle is proving me wrong," Brown admitted. "He is better defensively than I initially expected him to be, he was very good tonight, he’s trending upward in my mind there’s no doubt about it."

It won’t be easy, especially given the competition upcoming for the Sixers, but expect to see the Sixers continue to get the two top picks more playing time together.

Their last five games include Detroit tonight, Cleveland on Friday, Dallas on Sunday, at Atlanta on Tuesday and the season finale against the Bucks on Wednesday.

All games, including the playoffs can be heard on 97.3 ESPN, South Jersey's Sports Leader.


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