Furkan Korkmaz is filling in nicely.
The reserve swingman just might be the sharpshooting reserve the 76ers desperately need. Korkmaz scorched the nets for the second game in a row, scoring 31 points in Sunday’s 118-111 victory over the Chicago Bulls at the Wells Fargo Center.
He made 6 of 11 three-point shots in addition to finishing with five rebounds, two assists, and three steals. The performance comes after Korkmaz had career highs of 34 points and seven three-pointers in Friday’s victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
He joins JJ Redick as the only Sixers reserves to score 30-plus points in consecutive games since bench stats were first kept during the 1970-71 season.
On this night, however, the Turk did most of his damage in the first quarter. He scored 17 points, making 4 of 5 three-pointers. It tied him with Ben Gordon (Dec. 6, 2006) and Luol Deng (Nov. 21, 2004), who both did it while playing for the Bulls, for the second-most first-quarter points by a reserve since the 1996-97 season. Denver’s Will Barton is on top of the list with 18 points (Dec. 22, 2015).
But the perception was the Sixers were without a sharpshooter after Redick signed with the New Orleans Pelicans this past summer.
“I’m just trying to play my best basketball,” said Korkmaz, who is averaging 9.7 points and shooting 39.8% percent on three-pointers. "My, I’m thinking, the strongest part of the game is shooting. I don’t feel like I need to make a comment about it. I just need to show it on the court every game, because I know here everybody is trying to compete for a jersey, for minutes.
“I’m just aware of it. And I’m just going to keep playing my way.”
With Korkmaz leading the way, the Sixers improved to 33-21 and a league-best 24-2 at home. The Bulls (19-35) lost their fifth straight.
Ben Simmons completed a triple double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. He also had seven turnovers.
Joel Embiid finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. He made 11 of 14 foul shots. Tobias Harris (14 points) and newcomer Glenn Robinson III (10) were the Sixers’ other double-digit scorers.
Meanwhile, Al Horford missed all six of his shots and was scoreless. It’s the first time the five-time All-Star failed to score a point in 835 career games.
The game marked the beginning of Robinson’s second stint in Philadelphia. The Sixers claimed him off waivers in March 2015, two days after he was waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He ended up signing with the Indiana Pacers the following summer. He and Alec Burks were acquired by the Sixers on Thursday from Golden State for three second-round picks. Burks didn’t get off the bench on Sunday night.
In 2015, Robinson didn’t make his Sixers debut until his eighth game with the team. This time, he came in with 2 minutes, 1 second left in the first quarter.
The 26-year-old finished with 10 points in 12 minutes, 11 seconds.
Zach LaVine paced Chicago with a game-high 32 points. Former Neshaminy and Villanova standout Ryan Arcidiacono had five points.
Embiidwho shot 8-for-17 from the field -- he was 4-for-12 through three quarters -- put the Sixers up, 117-109, on a three-pointer with 39 seconds left.
He put his index finger over his mouth, signaling for the cheering crowd to be silent. Then the three-time All-Star starter appeared to tell the crowd to “Shut the [blank] up” while running back on defense. The crowd had booed him throughout the game.
“I was just talking to myself,” Embiid said of the celebration. “I have not been playing up to my standards. Even tonight, I didn’t shoot the ball well. I didn’t play well. So I’m just mad at myself.
“So I was just frustrated.”
He was asked specifically if his shushing the crowd had anything to do with their booing him throughout the game.
“I don’t care how it looks,” Embiid said. “I’m just playing basketball. I’m just getting back to myself, just being a good [expletive], playing basketball, and trying to dominate.”