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Korkmaz returns to the scene of the crime where he stole a game from the Portland Trail Blazers

Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

It was over a year ago now but it may feel like 10 years ago. The Sixers showed up to Portland at 4-0, early in the 2019-2020 season. There was no pandemic, no bubble, no new suggestions to double mask and chill, you were young and carefree. Not the wizened, jaded, quarantine warrior you may have become. But on that day, Sixers swingman, Furkan Korzmaz tiptoed the baseline, turned around, fired and beat Damian Lillard and company in their own gym in very Dame Dollar fashion. Blazer fans are accustomed to Lillard’s lategame heroics. But on that night, it was Furkan’s time to shine.

The Sixers recently lost to a shorthanded Portland team at home in one of the most disappointing games of this season. And they lost to the Blazers on neutral terrain in the bubble last summer. But you get the feeling this might be a special return to Oregon for Korkmaz, especially as he’s been playing well of late.

On January 31st, Korkmaz refused to go quietly in what felt like a blowout in Indiana. Joel Embiid came into that game as a GTD and the team was not at full strength. But Korkmaz, who tends to have big games on the road under adverse circumstances, just kept hitting big shots.

In tonight’s game, Shake Milton is listed as game time decision, so even if the talent out of SMU is active, one might expect some of his minutes (where the Sixers need shooting and perhaps some playmaking) to go to the man from Istanbul, Turkey.

Furkan didn’t get many minutes in the most recent win over Sacramento, but he made the most of his 17 minutes, dropping 13 points, and 2 triples. Here is something that our Sean Kennedy noted recently:

“Like the game-winner over Portland, sometimes the late-night West Coast games just bring out the best in Furkan. The young wing was en fuego in the first half, making all five of his field goals, including a pair of 3s. He also threw down a thunderous dunk, driving from the left wing and throwing it down with the right hand; I would have given it a 6-out-of-10 at the dunk contest (needed a Vader mask). Korkmaz cooled in the second half, but for a few minutes tonight, Furkanity was in full effect.”

Let’s hope The Furkan Late Night Westcoast train continues.

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