PHILADELPHIA – A number of teams and even a few players have found games against the Bulls to be a chance to be at their best this season. But no one has done so more than the Sixers’ guard who wears No. 30.
Back on January 17th, Furkan Korkmaz had what was then a career-high 24 points with six three-pointers against the Bulls in Philadelphia in a Sixers victory. It was a surprising effort from the guard, and one figured he wouldn’t catch the Bulls off guard again, but he did.
Unfortunately for Jim Boylen, it took away a strong performance from one player dealing with a neck issue and a career-high from another.
Kormatz’s 31 points along with 28 from Joel Embiid aided the Sixers in their 118-111 victory over the Bulls that sends the injury-riddled team to a fifth-straight defeat. It might have been worse if not for great efforts from Zach LaVine (game-high 32 points) and Luke Kornet (career-high 25 points), but in the end the team slips to 19-35 on the season.
Once again, it was all about the third-year guard for the home team, who found his stride against the Bulls for a second time this season. After scoring a career-high 34 points on Friday against the Grizzlies on Friday, Korkmaz started quickly on Sunday, scoring 12 first quarter points to get Philadelphia out to a 13-point lead. When the Bulls rallied to get the lead in the third quarter, Korkmaz came alive again, scoring nine points in the fourth to give the Sixers a lead they’d not relinquish.
Lavine and Kornet tried to counter his efforts, with the former doing so despite a neck issue that made him a game-time decision. He finished with 32 points including five threes and twice gave the Bulls the lead in the second half on shots from behind the arc.
Kornet helped the Bulls make one final run late in the fourth to complete arguably the best game of his career, as his jumper with over a minute left cut the Philadelphia lead to five. The forward finished 10-of-14 from the floor to reach his career-high in points, but Embiid had an answer on the next possession, beating the shot clock with a three-pointer to push the lead to eight.
Yet again, however, it was Korkmatz that did the majority of damage against the Bulls for a second time in a month. He didn’t catch his opponents sleeping on his abilities this time, they just couldn’t stop him.