Summer League Six-Pack | Miles Helps Fuel Spirited Win, Second-Round Berth
It was the 76ers’ most spirited showing of the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League yet, and it came at the most critical juncture of their trip to Las Vegas.
Thanks to a dominant second half, and overall balanced performance, the Sixers edged the previously-undefeated Phoenix Suns, 88-86, Thursday to advance to the second round of the Sin City tournament.
The Sixers entered the elimination phase of the event winless, and seeded 30th out of 30 teams. Much like the organization’s big club, the summer squad showed productive grit, erasing a 14-point deficit by outscoring the no. 3-seed Suns 53-44 after intermission.
Despite struggling to shoot the ball through their first three appearances of the summer, the Sixers fared much better from the field in Thursday’s tilt at Thomas & Mack Center, especially between the third and fourth quarters. They hit 47.4 percent of their shots, and 9 of 17 3-point attempts following the break.
The Sixers had managed only 16 total 3-pointers in their preliminary-round games, but canned 15 treys in all Thursday. Phoenix, meanwhile, was limited to five triples.
Also key to the Sixers’ upset was that they outscored the Suns off turnovers by a convincing margin, 24-15. The disparity ultimately proved to be a reflection of the Sixers’ stellar defensive efforts.
The Sixers will now face the winner of Thursday’s pairing between the Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs this Saturday at 8:30 PM EST.
Saint Joseph’s Hawks product Isaiah Miles was terrific Thursday for the Sixers. Not only did he supply the team with a game-high 20 points (7-10 fg, 6-8 3fg) and six rebounds, the forward, in his first start of the summer, was active defensively, willing to take a charge, and ready to essentially do whatever was needed to light a fire under his team.
The approach rubbed off on the rest of the Sixers’ summer roster. Furkan Korkmaz got his groove back, and finished with 18 points (7-15 fg, 3-6 3fg), five boards, and three assists.
The Sixers were the beneficiaries of good guard play, too. Starting point man Demetrius Jackson tallied 10 points and five assists, and was especially impactful in the second half.
His back-up, Askia Booker, accounted for 11 points, seven rebounds, and six dimes.
With time running out, Furkan Korkmaz - isolated against fellow touted international prospect Dragan Bender - played the long game (both with his patience and shot), hitting a clutch jumper that increased the Sixers’ lead to four points with two and a half minutes to go in regulation.
THAT'S A NICE FURKAN BUCKET pic.twitter.com/jDglKpl2OH
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) July 13, 2018
Quote of Note:
“We started 0-3. We had a 30 next to our name as a seed, and we kind of took that as disrespect. We had to make a stamp on this tournament, so we wanted to come out and show that, and work hard. I’m proud of these guys. We worked hard against a really good Phoenix Suns team. We live to fight another day.” - Isaiah Miles
From the Other Side:
Phoenix took the floor at Thomas & Mack Center Thursday as one of four teams that had yet to lose in Las Vegas. Given the personnel the Suns had at their disposal, the distinction was understandable.
Against the Sixers, however, many of Phoenix’s young big name players were contained.
2018 no. 1 pick Deandre Ayton was limited to 10 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes. Mikal Bridges, this year’s no. 10 selection, posted seven points (2-5 fg).
Dragan Bender, whom the Suns selected with the fourth pick in 2016, notched 12 points and five boards.
The Sixers will square off against either the San Antonio Spurs or Milwaukee Bucks Saturday at 8:30 PM EST at Thomas & Mack Center. The Spus nabbed Reading’s Lonnie Walker IV in this year’s first-round, while Bucks chose Villanova’s Donte Divincenzo.