76ers

'You can understand from this smile' — Furkan Korkmaz savors sensational night

76ers

At Wells Fargo Center, Furkan Korkmaz has been one of the best shooters in the NBA.

After scoring a career-high 34 points Friday night in the Sixers' 119-107 win over the Grizzlies and making 7 of 9 threes, he’s shot 45.8 percent from three-point range at home (compared to 33.1 percent on the road). That mark is sixth-best among players who have attempted at least 100 home threes. 

The crowd was much larger and louder and the stakes much higher, but Korkmaz had flashbacks to July 6, 2018, the night he went for 40 points in a summer league game.

“When you score, your fans, your teammates, the coaching staff — everybody was involved today,” he said. “That reminds me a little bit of my summer league game in Vegas. It was a really good feeling today.”

Korkmaz broke out of a slight shooting slump — he’d gone 28.2 percent from three-point range over his last six games — in resounding style.

The 22-year-old has a mix of “every shot I take is destined to go in” swagger and "this is a pretty cool job to have" humility that’s made it easy for fans to get behind him. He got a standing ovation when he checked out in the fourth quarter.

Korkmaz had a gem of an answer for NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Serena Winters on his confidence.

 

“You can understand from this smile,” he said. “I don’t really like to talk about my performance, but all I can say is I just really felt it today. I just made it rain … my teammates are trying to look for me. I got a lot of open looks and I just made it.”

Brett Brown said he most liked Korkmaz’s defensive effort, commenting that he doesn’t feel Korkmaz has been targeted by opposing teams to the same extent he was last season. The 22-year-old might face competition for playing time once new additions Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III enter the lineup, and it sounds like Brown will be monitoring how well he holds up defensively.

Shooting clearly remains his trademark skill, to the extent that Ben Simmons was unmoved by the Turkish wing’s career night.

“I expect him to do that,” Simmons said. “I believe in him so much every time he shoots the ball.”

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