By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were riding high after beating the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. They faced a Chicago Bulls team who had revenge on their minds, after being beat by Philly earlier in the week. Unfortunately for the Bulls Philly had other plans, as they used a late game offensive explosion from the three-point line to beat them 114-109.
It did not start out good for either team. Both struggled from the field early in the game. Furkan Korkmaz stabilized Philly’s offense late in the first quarter as he hit seven three-pointers and scored 12 of his 22-points by half-time. His return from a wrist injury really helped Philly turn the tide on the Bulls. His three-point scoring, and playmaking has been on display throughout this season. He has stepped-up in his increase role in the absence of Ben Simmons. Korkmaz has been called upon to be a point-guard and he has really impressed on both sides of the ball. Tonight, his shooting was needed but he also has improved as a defender as well. His development will continue to be important to help the second unit and keep Joel Embiid and Seth Curry healthy.
On Furkan Korkmaz’s shooting, “The good part about Furk is when you draw up a play for Furk to shoot, he’s going to shoot it,” said 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers.
Despite the strong scoring night for Korkmaz. The Bulls continued to hang tough, and they used a late game 12-3 scoring run to retake the lead from the Sixers. Guard Zach Lavine powered them. He scored 32-points and could not be stopped throughout most of this game. Philly did not have any answers for him. He was hitting shots from the three-point line, the perimeter, and the paint. Philly was able to force him into some tough shots late in the fourth quarter to keep the Bulls at bay. Lavine could not answer the call when his team needed it late.
When Philly needed an answer Joel Embiid stepped-up. He scored 30-points and hit four three-pointers. Embiid hit two clutch threes late in the game, to help the Sixers beat the Bulls. He has not played his best, but when his team needed him the most throughout this game he stepped up. He looked like his old self and if this Joel Embiid re-emerges than the Sixers will continue to separate themselves in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
On the team win despite being short-handed, “We’re just connected. We’re on the same page. We hang out a lot together, we enjoy our time. So it makes it easier,” said Sixers center Joel Embiid.
Philly will now get a day off as they prepare to face the New York Knicks on Monday night. They will need to have another stellar night on both sides of the ball to keep the Knicks at bay. Additionally, they will also need another balanced night from the field as well if they want their ninth win of the season.