Furkan called game in Portland.
With the game on the line, the Philadelphia 76ers drew up a play for Furkan Korkmaz, who delivered a clutch 3-pointer to give his squad a 129-128 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m really, really happy about this,” Korkmaz said in an on-court postgame interview.
What made it even sweeter was the the Blazers had drilled what looked like their own game winner just moments earlier, when Anfernee Sminons nailed a 3-pointer from the corner.
“I didn’t know how to feel or how to act. It was the biggest shot of my career,” Korkmaz said. “”We were working on that in practice. I knew that if I was open I would take the shot. That was my mentality when I was going in.”
He also had the confidence of his teammates when he lined up the corner-3.
“As soon as I saw Furk open — I think he was shocked he was that open — I trusted Furk to make that shot,” Sixers point guard Ben Simmons said.
Korkmaz played 20 minutes off the bench and finished with 11 points, hitting 3-of-6 from 3-point land. At 5-0, Sixers are the NBA’s only undefeated team remaining.
The Sixers trailed all night until late in the fourth quarter and trailed by as many as 21 points in the game.
Furkan Korkmaz is the ‘Bomber’ Brett Brown is Looking for
With the loss of veteran sharpshooter JJ Reddick to free agency in the offseason, Sixers head coach Brett Brown has been vocal about wanting to find himself a “bomber” and has been open to giving Korkmaz the minutes to see if he could fit the role.
“I need to grow a bomber,” Brown said after the Sixers’ season-opening victory over the Boston Celtics. “Like, really, somebody is going to emerge, where they are lightning in a bottle,” the coach said. “They can come in and ‘bam, bam, bam’ and make a three. And why not Furk?”
After just five points combined through his first three games, Korkmaz has exploded in his last two. He was coming off a 17-point outing against the Timberwolves — just off of his career-high of 18.
Another bright spot off the bench was Raul Neto, who played just six minutes but contributed four points, two assists and two rebounds and was a plus-13
Al Horford Sharp Filling in for Joel Embiid
With Joel Embiid serving the first of his two-game suspension, a heavier burden was placed on veteran Al Horford, who slid over to play center. Luckily for the Sixers, Portland big men Hassan Whiteside (left knee) and Zach Collins (left shoulder) were ruled out for the game, so 6-foot-8 Anthony Tolliver started for the Blazers.
Horford put up 24 shots — his high-with the Sixers through five games — collecting 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Ben Simmons also stepped up in the absence of Embiid,
The Sixers are off to see the upstart Phoenix Suns on Monday. Behind Devin Booker, the Suns are off to a 4-2 record this season.
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