Sixers’ Furkan Korkmaz Lives Out Dream Scenario vs. Blazers
Back in the summertime, the Philadelphia 76ers were looking to turn a few pages with the franchise. As the team welcomed new faces after moving on from a few players, the 76ers were expected to have a much different look in 2019. One of those players, in particular, who wasn't supposed to be back, happened to be reserve forward, Furkan Korkmaz.
As Korkmaz ended the 2018-2019 season without an offer from the Sixers, the Turkish star decided to move back home and play ball outside of the NBA. Soon enough, the Sixers would come calling once again and offered up a two-year deal for the 22-year-old shooter. Fast forward to a couple of months later, and Korkmaz becomes Philly's hero early on.
During a late Saturday night matchup in Portland, the Sixers were looking to remain as the only unbeaten team left in the NBA. For most of the night, it looked like they were going to take their first loss of the season, but suddenly, the Sixers climbed back to win 129-128. From Raul Neto's surprising surge — to Ben Simmons' clutch free-throw shooting — everything that happened on Saturday was full of surprises.
However, there might not have been any other scenario more shocking than Furkan Korkmaz hitting the final long-range shot for the Sixers to take a late lead for the eventual comeback win. It was a humbling scenario for Korkmaz. While he was excited about his major accomplishment, the six-foot-seven-inch forward couldn't help but acknowledge the fact he was living out what he considered to be a "dream."
“I don’t know how to feel [or] how to act," Korkmaz said following the game. "It was like the biggest shot in my career, you know? I knew Al [Horford] was going to set a good pick and get me open. Then I was wide open — just let it fly, and I made it. That was also a huge comeback from double-digits. A huge comeback, then to make the buzzer-beater and get the ‘W’ is incredible. It’s like a dream.”
Sixers' head coach Brett Brown couldn't help but smile when recalling the play in his head after the win. "We decided to go with Furkan in that moment for offensive reasons," Brown said. "Good for him, right? Good for him [for] stepping up. Just a tremendous road win. This [Portland] is a difficult place to win any under circumstances and to come back down by 21 points in the second half is a real tribute to our guys.”
The Sixers haven't accomplished 5-0 by being flawless — but the Philly fight in them has allowed the team to climb back in difficult situations on numerous occasions. There's still tons of work to do, but so far, the Sixers have proved that they come back, be clutch, and win without their most talented player on the floor. If they can keep this up moving forward, the sky will be the limit for this team.