76ers

More Furkan Korkmaz magic helps Sixers beat Bulls

More Furkan Korkmaz magic helps Sixers beat Bulls

Everything Furkan Korkmaz touched in the last two games turned to gold. 

The Turkish wing scored 65 points and shot 25 of 34 this weekend. His 31 points Sunday night lifted the Sixers to a 118-111 win over the Bulls, which moves them to 24-2 at home, 33-21 overall.

Here are observations on the win: 

More Korkmaz magic 

Korkmaz picked up exactly where he left off Friday night.

He drained a three from the right wing on his first touch, then converted an and-one on his second after running a nice give-and-go with Ben Simmons. The 22-year-old kept rolling with an alley-oop to Simmons, followed by another jumper from long range that was open thanks to an excellent pump fake. 

Korkmaz, who ended the first quarter with 16 points on 6 for 7 shooting, appears to be in an incredible zone where every decision he makes is working just through the force of limitless self-confidence — he even crashed the offensive glass and tipped in a Simmons miss in the second quarter. 

He sunk a three and then drove in for a dunk in the fourth quarter, helping the Sixers pull away.

There will now be greater competition for bench wing minutes with the additions of Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III. Though it wouldn’t make sense to read into how Brett Brown divvied up the minutes Sunday given that Burks and Robinson haven’t even practiced yet, it would be surprising if Korkmaz’s role was significantly lessened in the near future with how well he’s done recently. 

Welcome back, Glenn Robinson III 

Robinson checked in late in the first period for his first minutes as a Sixer since 2015.

The 2017 Slam Dunk Content champion’s opening basket was … a dunk.

While Robinson will have to learn the Sixers’ schemes and terminology, he’s not a player who needs a ton of touches and is having a strong year as a three-point shooter (40 percent overall, 40.5 percent on catch-and-shoot attempts), which might ease the transition. He made a couple of smart, instinctive cuts into open space and finished with 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting in 12 minutes. 

Burks was available to play but did not debut, though one would presume he’ll have opportunities moving forward. Brown said pregame he was looking forward to the prospect of adding another capable live dribble and pick-and-roll player in Burks, who averaged a career-high 16.1 points per game and shot 37.5 percent from three-point range for the Warriors. 

Josh Richardson and Shake Milton are the two other Sixers besides Burks who fit that live dribble guard description. Milton’s ability to run the pick-and-roll with Simmons is a big part of why he’s started the past eight games.


Richardson ramping up 

Milton maintained his dual role as starter/backup guard, while Richardson played 19 minutes off the bench and had three points and two assists.

Richardson is clearly emerging as a vocal leader both on off the floor. Late in the third quarter, he called his teammates around him for an impromptu huddle during a stoppage before a free throw. 

A team spokesperson said before the game that Richardson’s minutes will be gradually ramped up as he comes back from the left hamstring strain that sidelined him for six games.

Embiid uses his muscle 

Joel Embiid had a major strength advantage over Luke Kornet, which he exploited early. He scored the Sixers’ first points on a deep post catch and short jump hook, and he had eight of the team’s opening 12. 

However, Embiid misfired on a handful of open jumpers in the first half — not the only time that’s happened since his return from a torn ligament in the ring finger of his left hand.

The All-Star big man had 28 points (8 of 17 shooting) and 12 rebounds after missing the second half of Friday’s win over the Grizzlies with neck tightness. He now has at least one offensive rebound in 50 consecutive regular-season games played. 

Poor defense for long stretches  

Despite four steals by Simmons and four blocks by Embiid, the Sixers’ defensive effort wasn’t good for long stretches, prompting a few boos from the Wells Fargo Center crowd

That said, Zach LaVine hit several long, tightly contested threes that no defense could have done much to stop on his way to 32 points.  

Simmons only shot 6 for 13, but he was especially valuable on a night when many of his teammates were a level or two below their best on defense. He also made 7 of 10 foul shots and had a triple-double with 10 rebounds and 10 assists, though he did turn it over seven times.



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Jerry Stackhouse tries to set record straight on scrimmages with 17-year-old Kobe Bryant

Jerry Stackhouse tries to set record straight on scrimmages with 17-year-old Kobe Bryant

At 17 years old, Kobe Bryant was scrimmaging against professional athletes and Philadelphia college stars, about to embark on a 20-year NBA career.

He impressed in those scrimmages with his skill and bravado. But, according to Jerry Stackhouse, Bryant wasn’t big on passing. 

Stackhouse, now the head coach at Vanderbilt, spent the first two-plus years of his career with the Sixers before being traded to the Pistons and matched up with Bryant in those scrimmages.

What happened with Kobe was nobody really wanted to play with Kobe,” he said on The Woj Pod. “[Former La Salle star and NBA player] Lionel Simmons, you used to always see him pulling Kobe to the side, like, ‘Man, you gotta pass the ball! You gotta learn how to do this!' Because the older guys were from Philly. … These stories kind of take on a life of their own. And yes, Kobe had some good days scoring the ball, because he could handle it so well. But he had tunnel vision at that point. You had pickup games, sometimes he didn’t even get picked up. 

“But again, because he’s so been great since this, these stories go back of ‘Oh, he beat Stackhouse one-on-one.’ Come on, man. Me at 20 years old, can you imagine a 17-year-old beating me consistently? I’d have hurt him first, real talk. Just physically, that could never happen to me. Did we play one-on-one? Yes. Did he beat me, did he maybe win a game? Yes. Did he consistently beat Jerry Stackhouse at 20 years old when he was 17? Hell no. I’m putting an end to that story. … Was he super talented and everyone saw great potential in him? Yes, but those scenarios … of Kobe Bryant, they’re a little bit of a different story when you go talk to people that were actually in the gym. 

Stackhouse noted that it took a little time for Bryant to adjust to the NBA game, which is true. The Lower Merion High School graduate played only 15.5 minutes per game as a rookie. Of course, he went on to make 18 All-Star Games, win five NBA championships and become one of the best players of his era. 

Though Stackhouse wanted to set the record straight on those one-on-one games with Bryant, he was still amazed by his ability at such a young age.

“This kid was unbelievable,” he said. “Just his ball handling ability … he grew up, obviously, emulating Michael Jordan.”

However, the members of the Philadelphia basketball community who were in the gym for those scrimmages were apparently ruthless in their critiques.

“I vividly remember the old heads from Philadelphia,” Stackhouse said, “[they're] like, ‘Come on, man, you gotta pass the ball! That ain’t how you gotta play!’” 

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Sixers fans can't stop laughing at Bulls for interviewing Bryan Colangelo

Sixers fans can't stop laughing at Bulls for interviewing Bryan Colangelo

Sixers fans, grasping at any semblance of basketball news, received a cruise ship-sized life line on Wednesday.

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported the Bulls have interviewed former 76ers president Bryan Colangelo for their top basketball ops position:

This is, of course, kind of a mind-boggling decision from the Bulls, considering the way Colangelo's bumpy tenure in Philly ended. 

You know, Burner-gate. Remember that insanity? Remember when the active general manager of the 76ers was linked to Twitter accounts actively disparaging his own players? That really happened!

And yet, despite the public unraveling of his time with the Sixers, and the unsavory nature of his resignation, the Bulls somehow deemed Colangelo worthy of an interview for this position as they try to kickstart their floundering franchise.

Sixers fans couldn't believe it:

Some laughed, and laughed, and laughed:

Some encouraged the insanity, because there's nothing Sixers fans love more than watching a tire fire form in real time:

And then, of course, Sixers Twitter came with the jokes, because they are ruthless and unceasing:

Colangelo actually landing the job is, admittedly, probably a long shot. But the fact that he could even garner an interview at this point in his career, and after his last stop, is both hilarious and confounding.

And Sixers fans are here for it, entirely.

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