PHILADELPHIA – For a time Friday night, it looked as if it could be a chance to break through for a rare win against a team with a winning record.
The Bulls had solid defense early on against the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center and held onto a one-point leading heading into the half. Fortunes would change, however, in the second half, and it came from an unlikely player.
Furkan Korkmaz, who is averaging 8.1 points per game, enjoyed the finest night of his two-and-a-half-year NBA career on Friday evening at the Bulls’ expense. He hit six-three pointers, including four in a quick stretch in the third quarter, and scored a career-high 24 points to send the Bulls to a 100-89 loss to the Sixers on Friday night.
Gone was their first shot at back-to-back wins in the calendar years they team falls to 15-28 on the season.
The first half was positive mostly as Zach LaVine (team-high 23 points) and Lauri Markkanen (12 points) had the Bulls near or in the lead most of the first 24 minutes. Then Korkmaz went to work late in the third quarter after the Sixers had gotten lead back, hitting four three-pointers from the 3:59 mark in the quarter to 2:07, which pushed Philadelphia’s lead up to 14.
Korkmaz would add two more buckets, including a driving dunk, in the fourth quarter to finish off his night in which he went 8-for-11 from the field and 6-of-9 from behind the arc. Because of his exploits, the Bulls never got closer than eight points in the final 12 minutes as their struggles in the new year continue as they fall to 2-7 in 2020.
At least Saturday night could bring some relief, as the Bulls host the struggling Cavaliers, who are 12-30 after a loss to Memphis on Friday.