Friday night marked the start of summer league for the Sixers, but Furkan Korkmaz looked ready for 2018-19 opening night.
However, he was the only one to thoroughly impress during the team's MGM Resorts NBA Summer League opener in Las Vegas, as the Sixers fell to the Celtics, 95-89, at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Korkmaz went off for a game-high 40 points with Sixers head coach Brett Brown watching in attendance. Still, it wasn't enough as the Sixers suffered costly defensive breakdowns, proving incapable of holding a four-point lead with a little over three minutes left in regulation.
The Celtics closed the game on a 14-4 run to hand the Sixers the loss. The Sixers are back it Saturday when they face the Lakers at 11:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Let's get into five observations from Friday's action:
1. Korkmaz put on a show and certainly looked the part of an NBA player.
The 2016 draft's 26th overall pick went 8 for 14 from three-point range and lived at the charity stripe, going 12 of 15. The 6-foot 7 shooting guard, who also grabbed six rebounds, made a variety of deep and difficult trifectas.
He drained a step-back three to give the Sixers a 78-75 lead with 5:48 left and sank a similar one at 3:53 to push the advantage to 84-80.
Korkmaz had a craftiness to his game and drew fouls with numerous head fakes. He looked strong on dribble handoffs and going off the bounce, as well.
The native of Turkey turns 21 years old later this month. This performance had to feel good after a Lisfranc injury to his left foot last season limited him to just 24 total games (15 with the Sixers and nine in the G League).
2. Jonah Bolden was active and bouncy, attacking missed shots for athletic rebounds while running the floor well.
The Sixers' 2017 second-round pick totaled six points, six rebounds and a block in 23 minutes. He shot 2 of 6 from the free throw line and 0 for 2 from deep after shooting poorly in those areas during 29 EuroLeague games. The 6-foot-10, 220-pound power forward shot 31.9 percent from three and 51.2 percent from the line last season.
"Coming from UCLA going to my first year professionally was a big difference," Bolden said last month at the Sixers' practice facility. "Coming from the American style of play to the European style was also a big difference — the physicality, the speed of the game kind of slowed down. IQ level was a lot higher. There was an adjustment phase. Once I got through that, it was kind of a smooth ride."
Bolden wants to play for the Sixers in 2018-19. He'll have more summer league time to prove himself and try to convince management the time is now.
3. Zhaire Smith showed flashes but had a mostly quiet night.
The 16th overall pick in the draft last month was a minus-21 in 29 minutes while posting seven points and two assists. The 6-foot-5 guard attempted one three-pointer in which he missed but did not commit a turnover.
During the second quarter, he exhibited his athletic ability when fellow 2018 pick Landry Shamet found him on a cut to the basket for a layup.
First-rounder ➡️ first-rounder. pic.twitter.com/gQmlHHdoz4— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) July 7, 2018
Less than a minute later, Smith took a steal the other way and found Shamet in the corner for a three-pointer.
4. Speaking of Shamet, who was taken 26th overall by the Sixers, he did not play in the second half after leaving with a right ankle sprain.
He played some point guard off the bench and hit a pair of three-pointers in 12 minutes before exiting and not returning.
In his final season at Wichita State, the 6-foot-4 guard hit 84 treys and shot it at a 44.2 percent clip from bonus territory. Shamet is hoping he won't be sidelined for long so he can display that skill to the Sixers.
“I was recruited as a two, which people forget about, so I honestly feel confident playing either guard spot,” Shamet said a day after the draft. “And even being a point guard, I don’t have to have the ball in my hands. I understand Ben [Simmons] is a guy that’s good at creating space, having the ball, playmaking. Getting to play with him, he’s going to make my life a lot easier finding me and being a willing passer, making plays. That’s exciting for sure. But I have confidence I can play off the ball, I honestly feel that’s a strength of mine.”
5. Take away Korkmaz's impressive 8-for-14 showing from deep and the Sixers shot 5 for 23 (21.7 percent) behind the arc. They'll need to offer more help to Korkmaz, who single-handedly kept the Sixers in the game and nearly won it for them.
Saint Joseph's product Isaiah Miles was the team's only other double-figure scorer, checking in with 11 points and eight rebounds.