It might as well be remembered as Furkan Korkmaz Night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The 76ers reserve guard had a career performance Friday, helping the Sixers pull away to a 100-89 win over the visiting Chicago Bulls.
Korkmaz set career highs for points with 24 and for three-pointers with six, in nine attempts. He recorded 18 of his points after intermission.
“Everybody saw that I was really feeling it and then they just tried to find me,” Korkmaz said of his teammates. “I got some good open looks."
With the third-year veteran leading the way, the Sixers improved to 27-16 overall and 20-2 at home. The Bulls dropped to 15-28.
Ben Simmons added 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists for the Sixers. Al Horford (20 points) and Tobias Harris (13) were the team’s other double-figure scorers.
Zach LaVine paced the Bulls with 23 points.
But on this night, Korkmaz was the standout -- or as Simmons tweeted after the game, Goat-Maz.
Korkmaz went 2-for-3 on three-pointers in the first half. But he went on to make four consecutive long-range shots in the third quarter and added a pair of foul shots to score 14 straight Sixers points in a 3-minute, 8-second span, giving them a 79-68 cushion with 51.1 seconds left in the frame.
“He was in rhythm,” Simmons said, “just keep trying to find him whenever he’s open."
Korkmaz said Sixers were really focused on moving the ball against the Bulls. He praised his teammates for taking good shots and executing the game plan well.
The Turkish guard started to really feel himself after scoring 14 straight points. So he threw down a crowd-pleasing dunk on his next shot attempt with 6:32 left in the fourth.
“I got that confidence and then I saw the open lane and took off," he said. “I was not expecting that, but I just dunked it. That is all a good moment.”
He missed a three-pointer on his next attempt before scoring on a layup to put the Sixers up 95-83 with 4:43 remaining.
“For us to see him come in, do JJ-like stuff, and have that type of a bomber that was different,” Brown said, comparing Korkmaz to former Sixers sharpshooter JJ Redick. “That was different from what we have as it related to the current skill set."
The Sixers ran about five plays in a row for Korkmaz during his explosive third quarter, as Brown had flashbacks to Redick. Brown even ran the former shooting guard’s play-call package for the 22-year-old.
“He changed the game,” Brown said of Korkmaz. "He gave us a spark. I don’t remember JJ dunking like that. I forgot that one.
“But the long shot and just bam, bam, bam, like quick points, buckets fueled our defense.”
Korkmaz was the Sixers’ postgame bell ringer.
The Sixers were without Norvel Pelle, whose expiring two-way contract came into play Friday. The reserve center has only two days left toward the maximum number of days the Sixers are allowed to have him on the roster in his two-way deal. The plan was to sign him to the 15-man roster or release him after his 45 days. The Sixers will stretch those days out by recalling him only on needed game days.
Not wanting to use a day on Friday night, the Sixers had Pelle remain with the Delaware Blue Coats, their G League affiliate. As a result, Kyle O’Quinn (six points) was the Sixers’ backup center against the Bulls. O’Quinn hadn’t played in six straight games and 11 out of the last 12 matchups.
The Sixers would have to waive a player in order to make room for Pelle on the 15-man roster. But he’s a key piece right now since Joel Embiid is out after tearing the radial collateral ligament in the ring finger of his left hand.
Friday night’s win wasn’t all perfect.
Korkmaz appeared to make three with 3:02 left in the first quarter. But it was taken back because the Sixers had too many men on the floor and were charged with a technical foul. O’Quinn and Harris both tried to rush off the floor before the referees noticed. Simmons, Korkmaz, Josh Richardson, and Mike Scott were on the court with O’Quinn and Harris.