76ers’ Morey: ‘We’re excited for Furkan’s(Korkmaz) future here’

The Philadelphia 76ers have officially re-signed Furkan Korkmaz, the team announced on Monday. 

According to reports, it’s a three-year, $15 million deal. 

Last season, Korkmaz, 24, averaged 9.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, and a career-best 1.5 assists per game.

“We’re thrilled that Furkan is returning to the 76ers. His work ethic and commitment have helped him evolve into a high-level rotation player in the NBA,” Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations said via a press release. “He’s proven to be a dangerous three-point threat, and he continues to make great strides as a defender thanks to his length and size. We’re excited for Furkan’s future here.” 

Philadelphia selected Korkmaz with the No. 26 overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft. This year, the four-year veteran shouldered the scoring load for Turkey in the Olympic qualifying games, averaging a team-best 16.0 points, including back-to-back 20-point games. 

The 76ers get good shooting at a relatively low price for Korkmaz, especially when you consider that Duncan Robinson got a five-year, $90 million deal from the Heat, and Doug McDermott got a three-year, $42 million contract from the Spurs.

Korkmaz has improved and will have the opportunity to continue to improve in Philadelphia. 

 

Rivers on Milton: ‘He gave us a huge lift’

The Philadelphia 76ers got another big performance from Joel Embiid on Wednesday night. After scoring a then playoff career-high 39 points in Game 1, Embiid came back and set a new playoff career-high with 40 points and 13 rebounds in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference second-round matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. 

However, the 76ers needed an unlikely hero to defeat Atlanta on Wednesday night.

With Philadelphia trailing 80-79 late in the third quarter, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers inserted Shake Milton, who has struggled during the playoffs. Milton proceeded to score six points in the third, including a 35-foot buzzer-beater to end the quarter, and scored eight more points in the fourth to finish with 14 points as the 76ers defeated Atlanta 118-102 at Wells Fargo Center to even the series at 1.

In 15 minutes of action, Milton was 5/8 from the field, including four threes.

Milton appeared to be out of the rotation, and before his explosion on Wednesday night, the third-year guard averaged 2.8 points per game while shooting 21% from the field in the playoffs. Despite his struggles, Rivers was impressed by Milton’s preparation. 

“He prepared himself, and he believed that he would get another shot, and he got it,” Rivers said about Milton. “He gave us a huge lift. Very happy for him, personally.”

Tobias Harris, who scored 22 points in Game 2, was also happy for Milton.

“I’m extremely happy for him,” he said. “Happy and proud at the same time… For him, he’s been in and out of the rotation a bit in the playoffs, struggling a bit at times. But, he’s steadily in the gym, waiting for that moment, that opportunity. Here it came, and he took advantage of it”

In the first half, the Hawks’ bench outscored Philly’s bench 32-0, but the second half was a much different story for the 76ers, who had 26 bench points in the second half, which was a big reason Philadelphia was able to push the lead to as many as 21 points in the fourth.

Game 3 is Friday night in Atlanta.

In Game 1, Trae Young, guarded mainly by Danny Green, was tough to stop for Philadelphia as he scored 35 points and dished out 10 assists. However, in Game 2, the 76ers used the 6-11, Ben Simmons, to guard the 6-1 Young, and it worked. Young was just 6/16 from the field with 21 points and 11 assists. 

As they enter Game 3, it should be interesting to see what the Hawks will do to get Young going. It also should be interesting to see how both teams will respond as the scene shifts to State Farm Arena for Games 3 and 4.

Notes:

-Kevin Huerter and Danilo Gallinari gave the Hawks a big boost in the first half on Wednesday night. Both Gallinari and Huerter scored 15 points apiece in the first half. Gallinari finished the game with 21 points, and Huerter added 20.

-Seth Curry scored 21 points for the 76ers in Game 2, including 5/8 from three-point range. 

76ers move to the next round; Wizards have questions about future

The Philadelphia 76ers are moving on to the Eastern Conference semifinals after defeating the Wizards 129-112 in Game 5 of their first-round series on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Philadelphia wins the series 4-1.

The 76ers will begin their second-round series with the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Without Joel Embiid, who is day-to-day with a small tear in his right meniscus, Philadelphia had six players in double figures. Seth Curry led the way with a playoff career-high 30 points, Ben Simmons had a triple-double with 19 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, and rookie Tyrese Maxey added 13 points off the bench.

“It was what you would call an all-hands in, team win, for sure,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said after the game.

Philadelphia will continue to need all hands in if Embiid can’t play against the Hawks. He’s their best player, and makes this team go.

The 76ers have a team that can make the Finals, but that won’t be possible without a healthy Embiid.

Regarding the Wizards, heading into their April 7 game against the Magic, Washington was 17-32 and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Washington rallied with the second-best winning percentage in the league from April 7 to finish 17-6 in the final 23 games of the season.

This team overcame COVID, injuries, and everything else to make the playoffs, but there could be some changes in the offseason. Head coach Scott Brooks five-year contract has expired, and his future with the team is uncertain.

Russell Westbrook, who started his career with Brooks in OKC, would like him to return, while Bradley Beal said, “That’s out of my hands.”

Beal, 27, can become a free agent after next season(player option), so they have to convince him to stay, but as he said after the loss to Philadelphia, he is in control.

Ultimately, I’m in control,” Beal said. “I think that’s my biggest thing. People are going to report whatever they want, but I know where my mind is, and I know if it’s not coming from the horse’s mouth, then it’s going to be rumors. I expect them. S—, they’re starting now.”

Washington is stuck at this point. They are too good to get a high lottery pick but not good enough to contend. It’s almost like they have to determine what direction they want to go in. If Beal is committed to staying, they need to try to get players to win now. However, if Beal wants out, they need to move him, Westbrook(if possible), and try to rebuild. 

What happens next for the Wizards should be very interesting, and whatever Beal wants could determine Washington’s future.

Embiid to miss Game 5 against Wizards with meniscus tear

Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid has been ruled out of Game 5 against the Washington Wizards in their first-round series after the team announced on Wednesday that Embiid has a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.

The four-time All-Star had an MRI on Tuesday, which revealed the injury. The team listed Embiid as day-to-day, and the injury will be managed through therapy and a treatment program.

Embiid left Game 4 after the first quarter when he lost his balance and fell to the ground after getting his shot blocked by Robin Lopez.

Philadelphia fell to the Wizards 122-114 in Game 4 and have a 3-1 series lead. The 76ers are hoping to close out Washington in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

In the regular season, Embiid missed 21 games for the 76ers, and in those games, Philadelphia was 10-11.

Wizards’ Beal on Game 4 win over 76ers: ‘We played with more spunk, a little bit more attitude, and then some excitement’

The Washington Wizards kept their season alive on Monday night when they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 4 of their first-round series 122-114 at Capital One Arena.

Game 5 will be Wednesday night in Philadelphia as the 76ers lead the series 3-1.

The Wizards caught a little break on Monday night when 76ers star center Joel Embiid left the game after the first quarter due to knee soreness, which happened when Embiid lost his balance after getting his shot blocked by Robin Lopez. Embiid stayed in the game and completed the first quarter before leaving and heading back to the locker room. Embiid is scheduled to get an MRI on Tuesday.

No Embiid opened many things up for the Wizards, especially in the third quarter, where Washington outscored Philadelphia 32-19. Washington led by as many as 14 near the end of the frame and took a 92-80 lead into the fourth quarter. 

In the fourth quarter, Philadelphia would get back into the game, and took a lead with under three minutes to go.  Washington would use the hack-a-Ben Simmons strategy down the stretch, which Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said was a possibility in pregame. The strategy worked. Simmons was 4-8 from the free-throw line in the fourth, and with Washington leading 115-112, Rui Hachimura hit a dagger three to put the game away with 45.2 seconds left. 

“We played with more spunk, a little bit more attitude, and then some excitement,” Bradley Beal said after the game. “It just felt like we enjoyed being out there on the floor, we enjoyed playing defense, we enjoyed getting out and running in transition. These are [the things] that make us really good; this is what gave us success at the end of the year.”

Washington got its usual production from Beal, who led all scorers with 27 points, and of course, Westbrook had a triple-double with 19 points, 21 rebounds, and 14 assists, which was his second straight triple-double.

However, the role players stepped up for the Wizards, including Hachimura, who recorded his first career playoff double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds, Lopez had 16 points off the bench, and Davis Bertans added 15.

The Wizards had seven players in double figures. 

At this point, this series could come down to the health of Embiid. Philadelphia is clearly a different team without the MVP finalist. However, Philly still has the advantage and still has enough talent without Embiid to get by the Wizards, but anything is possible.

Notes:

-Westbrook’s 21 rebounds marked a career postseason high and were the most by a Washington player since Elvin Hayes had 22 on 5/13/79 against San Antonio. Westbrook became just the fourth player since 2000 to record a triple-double with at least 20 rebounds in the playoffs (Tim Duncan-twice, Kevin Garnett, Nikola Jokic).

-Daniel Gafford, who started on Monday night for the first time in this series, finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and five blocks, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to have 5+ blocks in a game and the first to do so since Marcin Gortat on 4/19/17 vs. Atlanta.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Bertans, who left the game in the third quarter and did not return due to a calf injury, had an MRI on Tuesday, which revealed a grade 2 calf strain. He will need 4-6 weeks for recovery, according to Wojnarowski.

-Tobias Harris led Philadelphia with 24 points(8/24 from field). Philadelphia had six players in double figures on Monday night.

Wizards’ Westbrook on playoffs: ‘I made it clear to the guys that we will make it’

The turnaround is complete. After starting the season 17-32, the Wizards won 17 of their final 23 games to get the eighth seed in the regular season, and on Thursday night in D.C., the Wizards clinched a spot in the playoffs after routing the Pacers 142-115 in the Play-In Tournament. 

Washington lost to the Celtics in Boston on Tuesday night, but they had another chance to get it right against Indiana.

According to ESPN’s RPI, the Wizards’ chance to make the playoffs on April 6(Washington: 17-32) was 0.6 percent, but what a difference a few weeks make.

Russell Westbrook, who had 18 points, 15 assists, and eight rebounds, still had faith the team would make the playoffs despite the early struggles.

 “Everybody was doubting us on the outside,” Westbrook said. “We had to figure out a way to knuckle up and make the playoffs, simple as that… I made it clear to the guys that we will make it.”

Washington(8) will face the Philadelphia 76ers(1) in their first-round series, and Game 1 begins on Sunday in Philadelphia. 

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 25 points, while Indiana was led by Malcolm Brogdon’s 24 points.

“Probably one of the best games we played all year,” Beal said. “Definitely, the most important one of the year.”

Now, the Wizards have a huge task ahead of them. Washington was swept by the 76ers in the regular season, so it won’t be easy. Washington does not have an answer for Joel Embiid. In three games against the Wizards, Embiid averaged 30 points and 9.7 rebounds.

Washington is going to need Westbrook and Beal to be at their best. Beal averaged 36 points per game against Philadelphia, including a 60-point explosion in January, while Westbrook averaged 22 points, 11.6 assists, and 8.0 rebounds a game. 

If Washington can find a way to beat the number one seed in the East, the 76ers, it would be a shocker. However, because of their ability to score, Washington will play Philadelphia tough in this series, but Philadelphia is the better team, and in the NBA, the better team usually wins in a seven-game series. Expect the Sixers to get it done in five.

 

Blue Coats’ Paul Reed scores 31 points in win over Agua Caliente Clippers

The Delaware Blue Coats (3-0), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, defeated the Agua Caliente Clippers (1-2), 108-101, on Sunday afternoon at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. 76ers two-way contract player Paul Reed posted a career-high 31 points (13-22 FG, 2-7 3FG, 2-3 FT) with 11 rebounds for his third consecutive double-double. The Blue Coats used a 10-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to grab the lead, en route to their third straight win to begin the season. It is the first 3-0 start in Delaware franchise history.

Including Reed, five Blue Coats scored in double figures for the second straight game. 76ers two-way contract player Rayjon Tucker tallied 19 points, three rebounds, a game-high-tying six assists, one steal and two blocks in a team-high 35 minutes. Jared Brownridge made four three-pointers and finished with 14 points. Justin Robinson and Jordan Bone each posted 11 points. Jemerrio Jones pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds with four points, five assists, three steals and a block in 34 minutes.

Five Delaware players delivered at least five assists in the win. The Blue Coats were also active on defense, totaling 13 steals as a team.

Agua Caliente led 54-48 at halftime and by as many as 13 points in the game.

The Clippers were led by James Palmer Jr.’s 26 points (10-22 FG, 2-5 3FG, 2-3 FT), seven rebounds and three assists. Tyrone Wallace added 22 points (10-18 FG, 1-6 3FG, 1-1 FT), five rebounds and a game-high-tying six assists. Donte Grantham posted a double-double with 16 points (6-14 FG, 3-7 3FG, 1-1 FT) and 14 rebounds in defeat.

UP NEXT: The Blue Coats will take on the Greensboro Swarm on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. The Swarm were 0-2 entering their Sunday evening contest with Long Island. Tuesday night’s Blue Coats-Swarm game can be seen locally on DETV Channel 28 and heard on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM.

Mavs’ Richardson: “I think me coming here and him(Seth Curry) going there(76ers) was good for both parties’

Last season, Mavericks G Josh Richardson came to the 76ers and was expected to be key piece to a championship-caliber team. Philadelphia acquired Richardson in a trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Heat. However, things did not go the way many expected for Richardson and the 76ers in the 2019-20 season.

The 76ers would get swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, and from there, the organization made changes. Philadelphia fired their head coach Brett Brown and hired Doc Rivers to replace him. Also, they brought in Daryl Morey to be the team’s president of basketball of operations. With changes in the front office and on the bench, you knew there would be changes with the roster, which included trading Richardson to the Mavericks for Seth Curry on draft day.

According to Richardson, who averaged 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 55 games (53 starts) last season with the 76ers, he had an idea that he could get moved.

“I kinda had an idea that something was going to happen, but it was between a few teams, so I wasn’t really sure,” Richardson said via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday. “I’m really glad I ended up here. Hopefully, I can bring some positive things to this city and to this team.”

While things did not work out the way he wanted them to in Philly, the 27-year-old Richardson enjoyed his time with the 76ers, but he feels Dallas’ system will fit him better.

“I’m thankful to the city of Philly for everything they did for me and that organization,” he said. “They have great players there, so it was great to be able to play with some of the best players in the league. Coming here is going to be a different look for myself. It’s a different playstyle: I think it kind of fits me more.”

Ultimately, the fifth-year veteran believes the trade that sent him to Dallas and Curry to Philly will benefit both teams. 

“I think that Seth(Curry) will fit in Philly well because he’s a great spot shooter, and I think that’s one of their big things they’ll need,” Richardson said. “I think me coming here and him going there was good for both parties, but I think a change of scenery is nice.”

This is a move that probably will benefit both teams. Philly needed shooting, and Curry fills that void, while the Mavericks needed a reliable, athletic defender, who can score, and Richardson does that for them. So, yes, Richardson is right. The Mavericks and 76ers will be happy with this move.

Philadelphia 76ers: ‘Three individuals have received positive test results for COVID-19’

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that three members of their organization have tested positive for COVID-19. The team did not announce who the three people were that tested positive for the coronavirus.

At this point, seven players have tested positive for the coronavirus, including the Detroit Pistons’ Christian Wood, who played against the 76ers on March 11, which was the day the NBA decided to suspend the season.

Also, on February 20, the 76ers played against the Brooklyn Nets, who had four players test positive for COVID-19, including Kevin Durant.

Here is a statement from the 76ers on the announcement that three members of their organization have tested positive for the coronavirus:

“The Philadelphia 76ers, in consultation with medical experts and the NBA, received the recommendation that certain individuals from the organization, including players, coaches and specific basketball operations support staff, be tested for COVID-19. The tests were secured and processed privately.

“Three individuals have received positive test results for COVID-19. All other tests results are currently negative. We have reported this information to state and local health authorities as required.

“Pursuant to CDC guidelines, the individuals are in self-isolation and will be monitored closely by medical professionals.

“The health of our players, staff, fans and community is paramount, and we continue to be guided by medical experts at this time.

“We extend our gratitude and appreciation to the public health and medical communities for their tireless efforts during these challenging times, as well as to our fans and partners for their support.”

 

Why you should not count out the Philadelphia 76ers

In the summer, the Philadelphia 76ers built a roster that seemed poised and primed to do big things this season. The 76ers got bigger with the addition of Al Horford, retained Tobias Harris, and brought in Josh Richardson from Miami in the Jimmy Butler trade. Add that to what they had in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Philadelphia appeared ready to make their move.

On paper, this team looked better, but basketball is never played on paper. Chemistry seems to be an issue with this team. Horford and Embiid together is not a perfect fit, especially in this small-ball era, so 76ers head coach Brett Brown finally made the move that seemed inevitable, he decided to send Horford to the bench.

Against the Clippers, with Horford coming off the bench, Philadelphia’s offense looked better, and the spacing appeared to be better, and ultimately, the 76ers would defeat Los Angeles 110-103 in their last game before the All-Star break.

Now, going into the second half of the season, Philadelphia has a few things working in their favor. First, they play well at home. Philadelphia is an NBA-best 25-2 at home, and next, they have the second-easiest schedule the rest of the way. 

Regarding Philadelphia’s home record, this team has beaten some of the top teams in the league on their home floor, including victories over the Bucks, Clippers, Lakers, Celtics(twice), Raptors, Nuggets, and Jazz.

However, Philly must play better on the road. The 76ers are one of the worst teams away from home. They are 9-19 away from the Wells Fargo Center, and they have lost to some lousy teams, including losses to the Hawks(twice), Magic(twice), and Wizards.

If the season ended today, Philadelphia would be the fifth-seed and would play the Miami Heat, who have beaten the 76ers two out of three times this season. If that matchup were to happen, with the Heat having home-court advantage, the 76ers could go out in the first round. 

Philadelphia went into the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak. If they don’t make their move now, then it might not happen for Philadelphia this season, but with Embiid back, Simmons playing well(averaging 20.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 8.1 apg in January and February), and the additions of Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III, the 76ers have the depth and the talent to make their move. 

At home, they have proven they can beat any team in the NBA. If they could just be average on the road, this team could make their move in the Eastern Conference and ultimately try to make a run at an NBA title. You can say what you want about the 76ers, but there is just too much talent to dismiss them. If they do struggle the rest of the way, changes will come.