The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers kicked off the Las Vegas Summer League in style Friday night with the Celtics claiming a close 95-89 victory over the 76ers.
This was the first taste of NBA action for recent draft picks such as Philadelphia’s Zaire Smith and Furkan Korkmaz, and Boston’s Robert Williams III.
While the rookie draft picks are the main draw for Summer League (not much, admittedly), this was the chance for players on the cusp of making a professional roster and rookie players buried in the bench to impress.
This was the first game for Philadelphia’s Furkan Korkmaz, a 2016 second-round selection that spent last season playing in Turkey.
Korkmaz did not disappoint, scoring a near-record 40 points on 10/18 shooting with eight three-pointers. The Turkish import was one of two Sixers to reach double digits in points. Korkmaz’s 40 point night tied for fifth all-time in NBA Summer League in his first official game overseas.
"Furkan Korkmaz ties Keith Bogans for the fifth most points in summer league history" is now my favorite NBA stat ever.
— Mike O'Connor (@MOConnor_NBA) July 7, 2018
Boston’s NBA bench players such as Semi Ojeleye, Guershon Yabusele, and Jabari Bird led the scoring charge for Boston with totals of 16, 16, and 14, respectively.
Boston’s first-round pick Robert Williams, who made recent news for sleeping through a team meeting and his first Summer League practice this, left the game limping after the first quarter. He is believed to have suffered a minor contusion in his right knee.
In Williams’ place, former Dallas Maverick Jarrod Uthoff added eight points, six rebounds and two blocks in eighteen minutes.
Philadelphia’s Isaiah Miles was the only other Sixer to break double figures, with 11 points on 5-11 shooting.
The game was dead even throughout and even saw some late-game theatrics from Korkmaz and Guershon Yabusele.
40 points. 8/14 3PM.
— NBA (@NBA) July 7, 2018
Yabusele hit the game-deciding three pointer, giving the Celtics a six point lead with 38 seconds to go.
yabu has too much sauce pic.twitter.com/rMuwBMaXnL
— jack (@jackhaveitall) July 7, 2018
Boston and Philadelphia’s young players are expected to cross paths again in the near future. On Saturday night, the Celtics face the Nuggets while the Sixers take on the Lakers.