Croats in NBA: Ivica Zubac Plays Game of Career for Lakers

By 19 January 2019

The young Croatian center Ivica Zubac had the best night of his career against Oklahoma City Thunder where his Los Angeles Lakers celebrated 138:128 in extra time. The 21-year-old from Čitluk scored 26 points in the victory with 12/14 shots in play and 12 rebounds - and 16 of those points were achieved in the last quarter and extra time, reports T.portal on January 18, 2019. 

In addition to Zubac, who dominated in the direct duel with New Zealander Steven Adams (17 points and 15 rebounds), the best on the Lakers was Kyle Kuzma with 32 points and Lonzo Ball with 18 points and ten rebounds.

The best Lakers player, LeBron James, who was injured on Christmas, is still not ready to play, though he continues helping from the sideline with advice and support for the young players, including young Zubac.

Lakers coach Luke Walton commented on Zubac’s game:

“He was powerful in the game and was really good with his soft shot. His teammates were constantly looking for him. When he got the ball near the hoop was very good. But, he's growing and becoming more and more physically powerful. Everyone has made their contribution today. It is difficult to win here, because you’re playing against a team for the playoffs,” said a delighted Walton who has been increasingly using Zubac on the court. Hopefully, his future is guaranteed in Los Angeles. 

We should also mention that Zubac had a net rating of +35 (+/- rating) which, in the history of Lakers, was only done by a handful of players (and only Kobe Bryant is in front of him).

'The whole has been season great. Every time he has a minute, his contributions are huge. Today he got the chance and did not get tired at all. I'm proud of him,” said Zubac’s teammate Lonzo Ball.

In other NBA news, the Indiana Pacers were convincingly defeated by Philadelphia 120:96 at home. From the middle of the second quarter, the Sixers took control of the result and systematically increased their advantage by the end of the game.

Bojan Bogdanović did not have a great night and finished the game with 9 points and 3/11 shots in play. 

Dragan Bender stayed on the bench in the Phoenix loss to Toronto, and in the Washington and New York duel at London's O2 Arena, Mario Hezonja played for 19 minutes, caught six rebounds but missed all four shots.

Ante Žižić was the most effective for his Cleveland Cavaliers who lost to the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, while Dario Šarič had yet another poor game in the loss of his Minnesota Timberwolves.

Žižić achieved a double-double in 35 minutes, scored 15 points with ten rebounds and had one steal and one block. Šarić played 28 minutes and scored only two points with 1/5 shots in play. He achieved seven rebounds and two steals.

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