Korkmaz’s late game heroics helps Sixers stun Bucks

By Josh Liddick, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It looked as if the Sixers were going to be sent home packing for the second straight game in the knockout round of the NBA Summer League tournament in Las Vegas, but a late rally and a little bit of Furkan Korkmaz heroics helped the Summer Sixers stun the Milwaukee Bucks 91-89 and advance to the quarterfinals.

The first quarter was dreadful for the Sixers, who just barely managed to score 10 points in that first period of play. They finished with just 11 points for the quarter and trailed the Bucks by seven heading into the second frame.

Philadelphia battled back in the second quarter, outscoring Milwaukee 27-21 to enter the break trailing by just one point. It took a couple miracles and some runs to help get the team back on track after sloppy play here-and-there allowed the Bucks to look like they would advance to the next round. The Sixers still managed to outscore the Bucks 29-20 in the third quarter, before the Sixers were outplayed by the Bucks in the fourth, only to be bailed out by Korkmaz & Co. in the end.

The Sixers led the Bucks 67-59 heading into the fourth quarter and held the lead until there was 7:09 left in regulation after a 24-foot jumper from Trae Bell-Haynes put Milwaukee up by one. Christian Wood followed about 30 seconds later with a dunk to put the Bucks up three. The Sixers struggled big-time after that, as Tim Quarterman's dunk with 5:58 to play extended Milwaukee's lead to 76-71.

With 3:28 left in the game, Bell-Haynes' driving layup put the Bucks back up by seven. Korkmaz made a layup off an assist from Zhaire Smith to cut the deficit to five points. D.J. Wilson answered back with a five-footer to give Milwaukee an 84-77 lead. Just 14 seconds later with 2:17 to play, Jonah Bolden gave the Sixers their first 3-pointer in the contest since 1:10 remaining in the third.

Now shooting free throws, Christian Wood pushed the Bucks' lead to eight points with 1:05 remaining in the game. Isaiah Miles sunk a 25-foot 3-pointer to put cut the deficit back to four points with 0:43 left in the game. With 0:36 left, Korkmaz was fouled beyond-the-arc and was sent to the line to shoot three shots. He made two of the three to now trail the Bucks by two points.

A couple key defensive plays highlighted by Demetrius Jackson's block of Travis Trice's layup attempt allowed Furkan Korkmaz to sink a six-footer and get fouled on the play for the and-1 to tie the ballgame at 89 with three seconds to play. He made the foul shot to put the Sixers up by one, and the rest was history.

Somehow, some way the Sixers pulled off the unthinkable, advancing to the next round on just sheer luck. It's hard to believe that this team is the 30th ranked team in the tournament and they are still finding ways to win.

Of course, game ball honors have to go to Furkan Korkmaz, who not only won the game on his game-winning layup and foul shot, but also led the Sixers in scoring with 19 points. He also grabbed four boards, two steals, and an assist in 25 minutes. Korkmaz was 6-for-13 from the field, 2-for-5 from beyond, and 5-of-6 from the stripe.

Jonah Bolden had his best game of the summer so far, finishing with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including two 3-pointers, eight rebounds, two steals, an assist, and a block in 23 minutes.

Isaiah Miles was 3-of-8 from the field, with two key 3-pointers, and finished with 12 points and four rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.

The Sixers shot 40.7 percent (35-86) from the field as a team, 33.3 percent (10-30) from beyond, and 73.3 percent (11-15) from the line.

Despite losing, Christian Wood put up a Summer League MVP-like performance with a game-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting with 12 rebounds, and five (!!) blocks. It was a truly dominating performance but unfortunately didn't end with a satisfying result.

Sterling Brown had 15 points, eight boards and three assists for the Bucks as their other key starter. Trae Bell-Haynes led the bench with 13 points, while Tim Quarterman had 12.

The Bucks shot 44.4 percent (32-72) as a team from the floor, 26.7 percent (8-30) from downtown, and 70.8 (17-24) from the charity stripe.

The 30th-ranked Sixers advance to the next round and will face the 27th-ranked Memphis Grizzlies.