John Coon

5 observations from Sixers' win over Spurs in Utah Jazz Summer League

5 observations from Sixers' win over Spurs in Utah Jazz Summer League

SALT LAKE CITY – Two close losses did not turn into a third one for the Sixers. They closed out their stint in the Utah Jazz Summer League on a satisfying note, rallying in the fourth quarter to beat the San Antonio Spurs 94-86 (see Instant Replay).

The Sixers came out on top without top pick Markelle Fultz in the lineup. Fultz did not start or play because the coaching staff decided to rest him ahead of the Las Vegas Summer League this weekend. In Fultz's absence, the Sixers' second unit stepped up to the plate and carried their team to victory.

Led by 18 points from Isaiah Miles, the Sixers finished with 66 bench points. Four of the six players who came off the bench scored in double figures including Jonah Bolden (16), Brandon Austin (15) and Isaiah Briscoe (10). With the spark they provided, the Sixers surged past the Spurs midway through the fourth quarter and never looked back.

Here are five other observations from Thursday's game:

• Once Furkan Korkmaz fully gets his legs under him, the Turkish rookie has the potential to impact a game across the board. Korkmaz did a little bit of everything against the Spurs on Thursday (see story). He stole the ball. He set up teammates for easy baskets with crisp passing. Most importantly, he helped key the decisive 11-0 fourth quarter run that put the Sixers ahead for good with a timely three pointer.

• After suffering a fourth-quarter collapse against the Celtics, the Sixers showed mental toughness in the fourth quarter both against the Jazz and the Spurs. They used a rally to threaten Utah in the final minute and then finished off a rally against San Antonio. This could bode well in tight games in Las Vegas.

• Bryn Forbes has the makings of being a dangerous shooter for San Antonio. Forbes scorched the nets from the perimeter in a win over the Celtics on Wednesday. The Sixers did a good job of holding him in check. Forbes did finish with 21 points, but he went just 3 of 10 from outside.

• The Sixers did a good job of getting out in transition, largely because of their success with forcing turnovers. They finished with 15 fastbreak points while limiting the Spurs to just six points in transition.

• Offensive rebounding is a strength for this Sixers' summer league squad. The Sixers corralled 10 offensive boards and finished with 16 second-chance points. It marked the second straight night they held an advantage over their opponent in these categories.

Sixers see progress from Furkan Korkmaz during win over Spurs in Utah finale

Sixers see progress from Furkan Korkmaz during win over Spurs in Utah finale

SALT LAKE CITY – There's much more to what Furkan Korkmaz brings to a game than what can be found by examining a box score.

One of the reasons that the Sixers drafted Korkmaz and worked to bring him over from Europe is his versatility. Korkmaz is a sharpshooter on the surface. Dig a little deeper and you will also find a rookie forward who is willing to pester opponents on defense and set up teammates for quality shots.

It helped Korkmaz have a bigger impact in the Sixers' 94-86 victory over the Spurs to close out their final day at the Utah Jazz Summer League on Thursday (see Instant Replay). He finished with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in 29 minutes.

Korkmaz tries to influence every part of the game while he's on the court because it fits with what he wants to accomplish as a basketball player.

"Everyday I try to think about it, how to get better and better,” Korkmaz said. “So I have to be better. I know that.”

Count the Sixers' coaching staff among the believers who see him reaching his desired destination. They love his fluidity on the court. They see a player with a diverse skill set who plays at an effective pace and has a feel for the game.

For the Sixers, it adds up to a player who has barely even tugged on the ribbon holding together the package holding his potential.

“As each minute adds up, as each touch adds up, as each shot adds up, as each possession adds up, he's just going to become more comfortable,” Sixers Utah Jazz Summer League coach Billy Lange said. “Then you're going to just see the whole skill set he has."

Korkmaz can expect to see big minutes and get plays drawn up for him when the team starts playing in the Las Vegas Summer League this weekend. Lange believes keeping Korkmaz in the game and letting him play through mistakes will make him a better player and build his confidence.

For his part, Korkmaz wants to reward that confidence through applying himself on both ends of the court.

"It's not just about shooting,” Korkmaz said. “It's also defense. [Even] if your man scores over you, you just have to keep up and try to give 100 percent."

Miles stepping up
For the second consecutive game, the second unit gave the Sixers a major lift in the second half and opened the door for a fourth-quarter rally. The Sixers outscored San Antonio 66-33 in bench points.

Isaiah Miles took the lead in fueling the comeback. He finished with a team-high 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting and seven rebounds in just 22 minutes off the bench. His biggest highlight came on a reverse layup in the fourth quarter that put the Sixers ahead for good during a decisive 11-0 run.

Miles, a rookie forward out of Saint Joseph's, has impressed the Sixers' coaches with his determination and motor whenever he steps onto the court.

"He's a fighter,” Lange said. “What I mean by fight is he's not going to look at the score and let that dictate his attitude. He just goes in and plays with a strong pace about him, just attacking the offensive glass. He's a confident shooter. He's got a high motor on the offensive end."

Miles joined the Sixers’ summer league squad a full season removed from a breakout senior campaign with St. Joe’s. He led the Hawks in both scoring and rebounding in 2015-16, averaging 18.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

Dominant defense
Second-chance points kept the Sixers in the game during a close loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. This time, against the Spurs, the Sixers used their defensive pressure to create extra shots and force San Antonio into a ton of mistakes.

The Sixers forced 25 turnovers to offset 19 of their own. They took full advantage of those miscues, scoring 31 points off of turnovers. The Spurs, on the other hand, totaled just 14 points off of turnovers.

Korkmaz and Jonah Bolden set the tone, finishing with a team-high three steals apiece. Seven different players recorded a steal for the Sixers. 

Summer League: Sixers salvage time in Utah with win over Spurs

Summer League: Sixers salvage time in Utah with win over Spurs

SALT LAKE CITY – No Markelle Fultz equaled no problem for the Sixers.

This time, they finished off a fourth-quarter rally with a victory. The Sixers downed the Spurs 94-86 on Thursday in their Utah Jazz Summer League finale. They finished with a 1-2 record in Utah.

A balanced offensive effort aided the Sixers in their comeback. Five players scored in double figures, led by 18 points and seven rebounds from St. Joe’s product Isaiah Miles. Jonah Bolden chipped in 16 points and eight boards.

San Antonio struggled with turnovers and the Sixers took advantage. They forced 25 turnovers and scored 31 points off those takeaways.

Turning point
Down eight points late in the third quarter, the Sixers ran off three straight baskets over the final 30.3 seconds of the quarter. Isaiah Briscoe started off the flurry with a reverse layup, Miles tacked on a dunk and James Blackmon, Jr. finished it all off with a fadeaway jumper to beat the buzzer. Their efforts helped the Sixers tie it at 70-70 early in the fourth quarter.

Furkan Korkmaz sparked another run for the Sixers after burying a three-pointer four minutes into the fourth quarter. It touched off a 11-0 run that gave them an 83-79 lead. Bolden tied it on a dunk and then the Sixers took the lead on a reverse layup from Miles.

Fultz watch
Top pick Fultz did not play for the Sixers on Thursday. The team designated it as a rest day for him ahead of the Sixers’ trip to Las Vegas to participate in summer league action there.

With Fultz on the bench, Larry Drew II started at point guard and served as the primary ball handler. Drew finished with two points, five assists and two turnovers in 30 minutes. The 6-foot-2 guard appeared in 12 games for the Sixers during the 2014-15 season. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.8 assists.

Team leaders
Bolden and Miles led a tough second unit, combining for 34 points and 15 rebounds. Brandon Austin added 15 points and Briscoe chipped in 10. Korkmaz was the lone starter to score in double figures, totaling 10 points.

Bryn Forbes led San Antonio with 21 points on 7 of 17 shooting. Cory Jefferson was the only other Spurs player to finish in double figures with 11.

Key stat
The second unit came to life for the Sixers. Bench scoring helped the team keep pace with the Spurs for much of 40 minutes. The Sixers totaled 66 bench points compared to 33 for San Antonio.

Top Sixers plays
Blackmon provided the biggest highlight in an end-of-quarter flurry for the Sixers in the third. He turned a turnover by Davis Bertrans into a fadeaway jumper that beat the buzzer by 0.2 seconds. It gave the Sixers valuable momentum going into the fourth quarter.

The Sixers tied and passed the Spurs in the final quarter thanks to a pair of great plays from Bolden and Miles. Bolden tied the game at 79-79 on a dunk and then Miles gave the Sixers the lead for good on a reverse layup with 4:32 remaining.

What's next?
The Sixers head down to Las Vegas to continue summer league play this weekend.