Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Toni Kukoč Reveals Biggest Problems in Croatian Basketball Today

January 4, 2022 - Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and Chicago Bulls legend Toni Kukoč gives his take on the biggest problems in Croatian basketball today. 

Before filming the show 'U svom filmu', which will be shown on Croatian television on Tuesday, January 11, legendary Croatian basketball player Toni Kukoč interviewed with HTV's Dnevnik.

The three-time NBA champion spoke about the current status of the Croatia national basketball team.

"It's not an easy question. I've been saying a lot lately that our biggest problem is our best players can't play for the national team. They are maximally exhausted from numerous obligations in the NBA league even when they come. We need to find some formula for the best players to play for their national teams to qualify for the World and European Championships and the Olympic Games. Until that happens, we will have problems. We have quality players, but our five, six best players play in the NBA league. That is our biggest problem. If we played in a full squad and had some continuity, I don't see that we would have any problems qualifying for the big competitions."

What can be done to change that?

"In my opinion, this is the biggest problem. We have good players who play significant roles in their teams in the NBA year after year, but we can’t put them together and find some continuity of work here. It is known that national teams that have success in championships and the Olympic Games have a certain amount of real preparation. It used to be three or four months, now it's hard to expect, but you have to find a month before the championship to do something significant. People can’t get together three days before a tournament and have some results made. This may have been possible before, when you had three, four, or five players who played for the same team, so they knew each other well and knew how and what to do together, and now there are players who play completely different schemes in different teams, and to expect them to be brought to the national team and to click in three days is hard to expect. It is difficult and ungrateful to expect that basketball players can do something like that."

How do you see the performances of Bojan Bogdanović and Ivica Zubac in the NBA?

"They play great; they have continuity, Utah is third in the West, Zubac also plays great for the Clippers. Bojan is one of the most experienced NBA players, we know what he can give, and he gives it from game to game."

What does he think of the NBA league then and now?

"It's different; there's a lot more shooting now than in our time. However, when you talk to the generations from 50 years ago, they think that they played the best basketball, every generation thinks that they played the best basketball." 

You can see the interview HERE.

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Thursday, 9 December 2021

Bojan Bogdanović Contributes to Utah Jazz NBA 3-Pointer Record, Zubac Secures Clippers Win

December 9, 2021 - Utah Jazz is the first team in NBA history to score 20 or more three-pointers in three consecutive games, and score 72 three-pointers in a three-game span, setting a new NBA 3-pointer record. 

Utah Jazz and LA Clippers registered new victories in the NBA, and Croatian basketball players Bojan Bogdanović and Ivica Zubac registered notable appearances for their teams. And new NBA records were broken, reports T.portal

Utah defeated Minnesota 136:104 away, with only a point advantage at halftime (60:59). But Minnesota was wholly outplayed by Utah as the game went on. In the third quarter, Utah was up by 13 points, and in the last quarter, up by 18, and scored 76 points in the second half.

Bojan Bogdanović was the second top scorer for Utah. Donovan Mitchell was the best (36 points, 14/23 field goals), while the Croatian basketball player scored 21 points in 28 minutes. He also had five rebounds and 8/14 field goals, and 4/9 three-pointers. He also hit one free throw.

Bogdanović praised Mitchell, who scored 30 or more points in four consecutive games.

"He's full of confidence. We all know how good he is and who he is. The game is at a very high level for the whole season," said Bogdanović.

Utah hit 25/54 for three-pointers, which placed them in the NBA history books.

"This was a good win for us. We played away, and we’re all trying to see where we are right now with a desire to keep growing. And tomorrow, we will have another big game," said Mitchell after the game.

 

This Utah Jazz team is thus the first in NBA history to score 20 or more three-pointers in three consecutive games, and the best Croatian basketball player, Bojan Bogdanović, significantly contributed to this record, currently averaging 16.8 points from three-pointers or 40.8% (throwing in 2.5 three-pointers on the average per game).

But that isn't the only record they set. 

Utah's 72 three-pointers are the most in a three-game span, breaking the old record of 67 set by Milwaukee and Houston (twice). 

The Clippers defeated Boston 114:111 in a tense game at home. A second and a half before the end, Croatian center Ivica Zubac hit both free throws to confirm the Clippers victory.

The Clippers were up 12 points at halftime, but Boston eventually caught up. Brandon Boston jr. scored 27 points for the Clippers, while Reggie Jackson added 17 with seven assists.

Zubac played 32 minutes and achieved a double-double of 10 points and ten rebounds. He also had four blocks and 3/4 field goals, with 4/4 from the free-throw line. He also had one assist, four turnovers and one steal. 

Jayson Tatum was the Celtics' first name with 29 points and ten rebounds.

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Sunday, 14 November 2021

Bojan Bogdanović Second Croat to Cross NBA 8,000-Point Mark!

November 14, 2021 - While his Utah Jazz couldn't pull out a win against the Miami Heat on Saturday night, Bojan Bogdanović had something to celebrate. He became only the second Croat to reach the NBA 8,000-point mark! 

Bojan Bogdanović played his best game of the season, scoring 26 points (field goals 8-19, three-pointers 6-13) with 6 rebounds and 3 assists, but the Utah Jazz failed to beat Miami (105:111). The Utah Jazz is currently in crisis, as they have only one win in their last five games. This was also their second home defeat in a row. Miami played without Butler but still celebrated on the wings of young defenders Herro (27 points) and Robinson (22), with Kyle Lowry scoring 21 points.

Bogdanović was the top scorer for the Jazz, ahead of Jordan Clarkson (25) and Donovan Mitchell (22). 

This is the fourth defeat in five games for Utah. On the other hand, Heat achieved the first victory from the fourth attempt on the current tour of the West. Both teams are now at 8-5.

But there is some good news to the story. Not only was this Bojan's best game this season, but the Croatian basketballer became only the second Croatian to cross the 8,000-point mark in the NBA.! 

In this game, Bogdanović needed 10 points to break the 8,000 mark in his career, and he crossed it in the last quarter, nailing 19 of his 26 points then. Of Croatian basketball players, only Toni Kukoč scored more (9810), and at this pace, Babo should overtake him next season.

Furthermore, the Los Angeles Clippers and Ivica Zubac continued with great games. On Saturday night, they defeated Minnesota 129:102, and the Croatian center completely outplayed Towns, who remained at only 8 points. Zubac scored 10 points but also 12 rebounds in 22 minutes on the court. Thus, the Clippers are currently experiencing an exciting winning streak.

Paul George with 23 points and Reggie Jackson with 21 led the Clippers to their eighth win in 12 games, and Anthony Edwards with 21 points was the Wolves' top scorer.

Source: Index.hr

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Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Zubac and Bogdanović Named in Sports Illustrated Top 100 NBA Players of 2022

September 21, 2021 - Ivica Zubac and Bojan Bogdanović have been named in the Sports Illustrated Top 100 NBA players of 2022. 

The American magazine ranks the top 100 NBA basketball players every year before the new season. The popular sports magazine started this year's countdown and published the list from 51st to 100th place, where the names of two Croatian basketballers were found. 

For the first time in his career, Ivica Zubac entered Sports Illustrated's Top 100, in 99th place.

"Outside of a three-point shot, Zubac checks every box necessary for a modern big. On offense, he's an expert offensive rebounder and a sturdy screener with soft hands as a roll man. On defense, he's smart as a rotating big and he won’t get bullied by the game’s biggest behemoths. Zubac is perhaps the least flashy player on our Top 100 list, but don’t let that detract from his value in Los Angeles," writes Michael Shapiro of the LA Clippers player. 

 

A year ago, after the best season of his career, Bojan Bogdanović was close to the top 50, in 56th place, but now he is ranked as 74th this season. 

In May of 2020, season-ending surgery on Bogdanovic’s right wrist knocked the veteran forward out for Utah’s bubble run, proving a major loss for the Jazz. Last season, Bogdanovic returned and further proved his worth, serving as both a reliable shooter and more-than-capable on-ball creator. Toward the end of the regular season when Donovan Mitchell went down with an ankle injury, Bogdanovic thrived, averaging 22.8 points over the regular season’s final 16 games," writes BP. 

 

The remaining two Croats in the NBA were not on the list. Dario Šarić will miss most, if not the entire Phoenix Suns season due to an operation, and Luka Šamanić has yet to confirm his place in the rotation of the San Antonio Spurs.

Among the players from the Sports Illustrated region, Serbian defender Bogdan Bogdanović was ranked 64th and Jusuf Nurkić, the center from BiH who plays for Portland 65th.

Luka Dončić and MVP Nikola Jokić will certainly be among the top 10, and whether SI placed them in the Top 5 and in which exact positions they see them, we will find out in a few days, reports Index.hr.

You can see the list so far HERE.

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Saturday, 3 July 2021

No Tokyo for Croatia after Losing to Germany in Olympic Qualifying Tournament Semifinal (86:76)

July 3, 2021 - Croatia nearly had the win to advance to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament final on Sunday, but Germany was better in the last 5 minutes to take the lead and ultimately the win (86:76). 

Croatia and Germany met in the semifinal of the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament at Spaladium Arena on Saturday. 

Croatia was unimpressive in their two group stage games, recording a tough defeat against Brazil (94:67) and a close victory over Tunisia (75:70).

Part of the reason for their poor performance can also be found in the stands. There were about 2,500 people at the first game, and barely 1,000 in the second. In an arena that holds 12,000, Croatia couldn't quite take advantage of playing at home. Today, however, Hajduk fan group Torcida came out to save Croatia basketball and called on all members to attend today's semifinal. 

Torcida has not organized their attendance at a Croatia basketball match for about 30 years.

Germany v. Croatia 

1st quarter

Hezonja scored Croatia's first basket for 3:2. Bogdanović made 1/2 free throws to make the score 5:3. Žižić scored both free throws awarded shortly after to even the score at 5:5. 

Ukić's floating jump shot saw Croatia down by 1 point - 8:7. A stellar Bogdanović dunk gave Croatia the lead for the first time at 8:9. With 4 minutes to go, Germany led 12:9. 

Bogdanović made it 15:12 with another 3-pointer. Bogdanović netted both free throws for 17:14 with 2 minutes to go. A 2pt driving layup by Bogdanović made it 17:16 and a foul drawn on him during the play saw him make a free throw to equal the score - 17:17.

Bogdanović put Croatia in the lead with another free throw for 17:18 and scored his second for +2. Sakić scored a 3pt jump shot for 17:22 Croatia! 

Sakić scored 1/2 free throws for 19:23 just before the final buzzer of the 1st quarter. 

2nd quarter

A Germany 3-pointer opened the 2nd quarter for 22:23, but Jordano quickly put Croatia back in a comfortable lead with a free throw for 22:26. 

Germany retook the lead thanks to a 3-pointer at 27:26. And it was 31:26 shortly after that. 

Planinić scored for 31:28 and a Bogdanović dunk made it 37:30. A 3-pointer from the Utah Jazz player made it 39:33. Hezonja made two free throws for 41:35 with 3 minutes to go. 

Hezonja scored a 3-pointer for 41:38 - and yet another for 43:41 with 2 minutes to go! Hezonja was on fire to level the score with two free throws - 43:43. Bogdanović put Croatia back in the lead with one minute to go at 43:45, which was the final score of the 2nd quarter! 

3rd quarter

Bogdanović scored the first basket of the 3rd quarter with 7:13 to go - 43:47. A Rogić 3-pointer saw Croatia up by 5 - 45:50. 

A Žižić layup made it 48:52 and a single Bogdanović free trow 48:53 with just under 5 minutes to go. Bogdanović scored for 50:55 and nailed a 3pt jump shot after. A Sakić layup made it 52:60 with two minutes to go. 

Croatia was only up by 5 with a minute to go - 56:60. Žižić scored 1/2 free throws for 56:61. Bogdanović scored two free throws to end the quarter 56:63! 

4th quarter

Hezonja scored a 2pt pullup jump shot for 58:65. Bogdanović continued his brilliant play with another 3-pointer for a +10 Croatia lead - 58:68. 

Jordano scored a 3-pointer for 63:71 with just over 7 minutes to go in the game. Bogdanović scored a 2pt floating jump shot for 67:73 and a free throw for 67:74. 

Germany was only behind by 3 with 5 minutes to go - 72:74.  Germany was awarded two free throws which they made to even the score with 4:30 to go. 

Germany took after making two free throws for 76:74. Bogdanović was awarded two free throws in the next play which made fo 76:76 with 3 minutes to go! 

Germany made two free throws for a +4 lead with 1:33 to go - 80:76. 

The game ended 86:76 for Germany.

Germany and Brazil will meet in the final on Sunday, July 4 at 7:30 pm. Only the winner of the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. 

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Sunday, 20 June 2021

Huge Boost for Croatia: Bojan Bogdanović in Split for Olympic Qualifiers!

June 20, 2021 - Croatia is thrilled to have Bojan Bogdanović in Split for the Olympic qualifiers at Spaladium Arena from June 29 to July 4! 

Croatia basketball player and NBA star for the Utah Jazz Bojan Bogdanović confirmed in an interview for US media that he would play for the national team in the Olympic qualifying tournament, which is being held in Split. Bogdanović and Utah were relegated from the NBA playoffs after a series against the LA Clippers, reports HRT.

"I will play for the national team, so I will already be in full training in seven or eight days," said Bogdanović.

After two defeats in friendly matches against Slovenia, Croatia's next game in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers will be against Puerto Rico on June 23 at the Spaladium Arena, where the tournament will be held for a spot in Tokyo. Veljko Mršić's team will compete against the same national team one day later, on Thursday, June 24.

The tournament for Tokyo is played from June 29 to July 4.

Croatia, Tunisia, and Brazil will meet in the group stage of the qualifying tournament in Split in June. Croatia will play against Brazil on June 30 at 8 pm and the next day against Tunisia at the same time. Brazil and Tunisia will play on June 29, also from 8 pm. After the group stage, there is a day of rest, and on July 3, the semifinal matches are scheduled. The final match is scheduled for July 4 at 7:30 pm. Only the winner of the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Croatia's group crosses over with Germany, Russia, and Mexico. The Split tournament and the other three hosted by Belgrade, Kaunas, and Victoria in Canada are scheduled from June 29 to July 4, 2021. 

The competition format has changed in Tokyo. Instead of how it was previously held, in which 12 national teams were divided into two groups of six, and the four best from the group stage continued to compete in the quarterfinals by knockout, the new system divides the teams into three groups of four.

The first two national teams from each of the three groups will advance to the quarterfinals and join the two best of the three third-placed teams. With this system, each match of the group stage becomes even more important, and to win an Olympic medal, it is now necessary to play six instead of the previous eight matches.

The Olympic qualifying tournament at the Spaladium Arena will also be held in front of spectators, reported Slobodna Dalmacija last week. 

At the request of the Croatian Basketball Federation and with the support of the Chief of the Split Civil Protection Headquarters, Bojan Ivošević, consent for the presence of fans in compliance with epidemiological measures was given by the County Civil Protection Headquarters.

Physical distance must be implemented, i.e., a distance of at least two meters must be maintained, and the spectators, technical and organizational staff present must meet one of the following conditions: that they received the second dose of vaccine more than 14 days ago, that they overcame COVID-19 in the last 180 days, that they had recovered from COVID-19 and were vaccinated with a single dose, or that they had been negative on a PCR test, no older than 72 hours, or tested negative in the past 48 hours on a rapid antigen test.

The organizer, the Croatian Basketball Federation, is responsible for controlling the measures and conditions.

The Croatia national team will thus get the desired support from the stands, which could ultimately be its advantage for a spot in Tokyo.

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Saturday, 8 May 2021

Best Game Ever for Bojan Bogdanović with 48 Points in Utah's Victory!

May 8, 2021 - It was the best game ever for Bojan Bogdanović, who scored 48 points against Denver on Friday night!

Jutarnji List reports that Bojan Bogdanović played the best game of his career last night. In Utah's victory against Denver (127:120), the Croatian basketball player scored 48 points (career record), and with a phenomenal 70% shooting percentage, he scored 16 out of 23 attempts. Bojan also hit 8 of 11 three-pointers and all eight free throws.

In addition, he had 8 rebounds, two assists, and a steal. Bogdanović's performance carries additional weight because, thanks to him, Utah has remained the leading team in the West and is now in a great spot for the playoffs.

Bojan overshadowed Nikola Jokić, convincingly the first candidate for MVP of the player of the season. The Serbian center also had a great evening, scoring 24 points, to which he added 13 assists and 9 rebounds. But all that was not enough to surpass Bogdanović.

Bojan has been playing the best basketball of his career in recent weeks. He has scored at least 22 points in his last five games, with a shooting percentage above 54 percent. The average in those five games is a fantastic 30.6 points, and he hit 54 of 86 attempts, which is a phenomenal 63 percent.

Utah has been playing without its best player Donovan Mitchell for some time, and Bojan's role in the team has changed with his position. The more he is with the ball, the more he gets under the basket, which obviously suits him better than the role of a classic shooter.

In the victory against Denver, Bogdanović had the best teammates in Clarkson (21 points), Gobert (14), and Niang (13).

Phoenix was also successful, beating New York 128:105. The Suns were led by Ayton with 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Dario Saric had another miserable evening. He only played five minutes in which he only managed to shoot once. 

The Lakers stumbled once again, this time in Portland (106:101), with whom they now share sixth place in the West. Seventh leads to the play-in, and the Lakers look awful.

Results:Philadelphia - New Orleans 109: 107, Chicago - Boston 121: 99, Charlotte - Orlando 122: 112, Miami - Minnesota 121: 112, Milwaukee - Houston 141: 133, Dallas - Cleveland 110: 90, Portland - LA Lakers 106: 101, Sacramento - San Antonio 104: 113, Utah - Denver 127: 120, Phoenix - New York 128: 105.

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Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Bojan Bogdanović Becomes First Croatian NBA Player to Hit 1000 Career 3-Pointers!

April 13, 2021 - Not only did he score 33 points for Utah on Monday, but Bojan Bogdanović became the first Croatian NBA player to hit 1000 career 3-pointers!

Although Croatia national team player Bojan Bogdanović achieved his best performance this season with 33 points, his Utah Jazz, which boasts the best ratio of victories and defeats in the NBA league, surprisingly lost at home to the Washington Wizards (121-125), thus breaking a series of 24 consecutive home wins. 

The Jazz was 13 points behind in the middle of the last quarter, only to get closer to -2 (119-121) at the last minute, but they failed to complete the comeback.

The most efficient at home was Donovan Mitchell with 42 points, while the Wizards were led by Bradley Beal with 34 points and Russell Westbrook with 25 goals and 14 rebounds and assists.

With this defeat, Utah's ratio dropped to 40-14, while Washington is in 12th place in the East (20-33).

Bogdanović spent 35:36 minutes on the court with 4-9 field goals, 6-9 three-pointers, and 7-8 from the free-throw line with five rebounds and one assist. However, by scoring six three-pointers, he exceeded 1000 in his NBA career and has recorded 1002 in total!

Bogdanović became the first Croat and only the 127th player with that jubilee in NBA history since the introduction of threes 42 years ago. Babo has been a Croatian record holder for a long time since he skipped Toni Kukoč, who ended his NBA career with 731 three-pointers.

Bogdanović reached this jubilee in the 516th NBA game. By comparison, Sacramento defender Buddy Hield recently scored his 1000th three-pointer in his 350th appearance, breaking Stephen Curry's record of 369 appearances.

Bojan currently needs 80 points to enter the top 100 three-pointers of all time. Tracy McGrady is currently in the 100th position. There are ten more active players between McGrady and Bogdanović, meaning he will probably need to exceed 1100 three-pointers to break into the Top 100.

At the pace of 2.4 three-pointers per game, which is how many he is averaging this season, he would need about forty more appearances to reach that venture before the end of the year, depending on the start date of next season.

At the very top is still Ray Allen with 2973 threes, but he is dangerously close to Stephen Curry, who scored ten in last night's historic game and is now at 2719 in his career.

The Utah defeat was used by the Phoenix Suns, who, with a sure 126-120 victory against the weak Houston Rockets this season, are only one and a half games behind. Croatia national team player Dario Šarić added nine points to his team's new victory (1-5 field goals, 2-3 three-pointers,1-2 free throws) with five rebounds and one steal 17:51 minutes spent on the court. 

The best in Phoenix's ranks was Jae Crowder with 26 and Devin Booker with 24 points, while Christian Wood was the best for Houston with 25 points and 15 rebounds.

Luka Šamanić also got a chance in the San Antonio Spurs away victory to Orlando Magic (120-97), scoring seven points in 7:45 minutes spent in the game (2-3 field goals, 1-1 three-pointers, 0- 1free throws). DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 19 points, while R.J. Hampton with 16 points was the most efficient for the Magic.

With this victory, San Antonio reached a 50/50 performance with a 26-26 ratio and is ninth in the West, while Orlando, with 17-37, is the penultimate 14th in the East.

The New York Knicks as hosts defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (111-96), who are still without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Former Lakers player Julius Randle scored 34 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, while Dennis Schroeder was the most efficient for the Lakers with 21 points. 

The Knicks are now eighth in the East with a 28-27 ratio, while the Lakers are fifth in the West with a 33-21 ratio.

The Philadelphia 76ers returned to the top of the East with an away win against the Dallas Mavericks (113-95). Joel Embiid was excellent for the Sixers with 36 points, while Luka Dončić's 32 points were not enough for the Mavs.

Philadelphia is now 37-17, one win less and one game less than the Brooklyn Nets in second, who have postponed their Minnesota match against the Timberwolves due to the riots in Minneapolis, while Dallas is seventh in the West with 29-24.

Stephen Curry had a great evening, scoring 53 points in the 116-107 Golden State Warriors victory against the Denver Nuggets and became the best Warriors scorer in history, overtaking Wilt Chamberlain. Nikola Jokić's 27 points did not help the Nuggets. 

Golden State is now 26-28 and holds 10th place in the West, while Denver is 4th in the West with 34-20.

Source: HRT

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Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Croats in NBA: Bogdanović Hits 7 Threes for Third Time this Season!

March 2, 2021 - The brilliant Bojan Bogdanović hits 7 threes for the third time this season. The Croatian basketball player has never had more than two games with 7 or more made threes until this year.

Index.hr reports that Utah Jazz lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 124:129 in last night's game despite one of the best performances of this season by Croatia star Bojan Bogdanović, who finished the match with 31 points.

Utah was one step away from creating a big turnaround, coming back from a 17-point deficit to only -1, but ultimately recorded their eighth defeat of the season. Utah is still the leading team in the NBA, with a ratio of 27 wins and eight losses.

In the last ten games, Bogdanović recorded a 32 percent accuracy for three-pointers, but he opened this game with five three-pointers, and by the end, he had scored a total of seven.

For the third time this season, he scored seven three-pointers, a record achievement for the Croatian. Never before in the same season had he had more than two games with so many three-pointers. Bogdanović had 11 three-pointer attempts, as many as the entire Pelicans team who recorded as many made threes as he did.

In the third game of this season in which he scored 30 or more points, Bogdanović was 11/21 for field goals. His season record is still 32 points, which he achieved against the Dallas Mavericks in late January.

Zion Williamson was the best for the Pelicans with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, Brandon Ingram had 26 points and five assists, and Lonzo Ball had 23 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists.

Young Croatian basketballer Luka Šamanić played his best game of the season. In the San Antonio Spurs' loss to the Brooklyn Nets, James Harden reached a triple-double with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 15 assists. Šamanić played nearly 17 minutes. He used them for eight points and five rebounds. The victory went to the Nets with a score of 124:113.

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Saturday, 20 February 2021

Croats in NBA: Bogdanović Scores 23 Points in Loss to Zubac

February 20, 2021 - Bojan Bogdanović scores 23 points in the loss to Ivica Zubac's Los Angeles Clippers and more news about Croats in the NBA. 

T.portal reports that Los Angeles Clippers retaliated against the Utah Jazz after losing two days ago, defeating them at home on Friday 116:112, thus breaking a series of nine consecutive victories for the currently leading team in the NBA. It was only the second defeat for Utah in the last 22 games.

The Clippers took the lead with a three-pointer by Beverley for 107: 94 two and a half minutes before the end, and it seemed that the game was over, but Jazz responded with a 13:3 series and reduced it to just 110:107 18 seconds before the time expired. Utah was precise from the free-throw line at the end of the game, but the great Mitchell failed to nail a three-pointer.

Kawhi Leonard led the home team to victory with 29 points, Lou Williams added 19 from the bench, while Donovan Mitchell scored 35 points for the guests, where Croatian Bojan Bogdanović scored 23 points in 33:32 minutes spent on the court (4/6 field goals, 4/5 three-pointers, 3/4 free throws) with two rebounds and assists.

Croatian center Ivica Zubac played a good role for the Clippers, especially when rebounding, and scored three baskets in 17:00 minutes spent in the game (0/2 field goals, 3/4 free throws) with eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal. 

Despite the defeat, Utah still leads in the Western Conference and the entire league with a 24-6 win-loss ratio, while the Clippers are third in the West and the entire league with 22-9, one loss behind the second-placed Los Angeles Lakers.

The Phoenix Suns won 132:114 away to the New Orleans Pelicans with a great game in the fourth quarter, and Croatian Dario Šarić played a modest game, scoring five points in 10:27 minutes spent on the court (1/2 field goals, 1/3 three-pointers) with three rebounds.

Šarić did not play in the last quarter in which the Suns turned the 91:102 deficit into a 130:109 advantage ahead of the last minute with a phenomenal 39:7 series.

Chris Paul was key for the Suns, who led his team both offensively with shots and assists and defensively with steals. Along with Paul, Jae Crowder and DeAndre Ayton were brilliant in those last 12 minutes.

Paul finished with 15 points and as many as 19 assists, Crowder scored 20 points, and Ayton recorded 16 points and rebounds. The most efficient among the winners was Devin Booker with 23 points.

Brandon Ingram scored 25 points for the Pelicans, Zion Williamson added 23, and Lonzo Ball added 21.

The Suns are now 18-10 and the Pelicans 12-17.

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