Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Croats in NBA: Bender, Zubac, Saric, Hezonja Score 59 Points Combined

March 11, 2020 -  Dragan Bender, Ivica Zubac, Dario Saric and Mario Hezonja each scored a combined 59 points on Tuesday night in the NBA. reports that Dario Bender and Dario Saric played masterfully in their teams' defeats in the NBA on Tuesday night. Bender was the Golden State Warriors' best player in their loss to the LA Clippers, while Kawhi Leonard was the top scorer of the meeting, recording 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists in just 25 minutes on the court.

Bender scored eight of 12 shots in play, two of which were successful from behind the three-point line. He was unmistakable from the free-throw line (5-5). His excellent performance was not followed by other Warrior players, who were defeated 131:107 in front of Clippers' fans.

Recall, Bender is playing his second ten-day contract with the Warriors, and if he continues playing like this, extending his NBA career should be more than sure. Bender was a senior in the 4th pick four years ago, but he didn't make it in Phoenix and Milwaukee. He is currently playing the best basketball of his career with the Warriors.

Ivica Zubac played 20 minutes for the LA Clippers, scoring four points and 12 rebounds.

Dario Saric was also brilliant in the Phoenix Suns jersey, even though they lost away in Portland. Saric spent almost 40 minutes on the court, scoring 24 points, with 11 rebounds, two assists and a block. He hit nine of 16 shots in play, four of them three-pointers from six attempts.

The Blazers celebrated 121:105 in front of their fans and were led by a balanced starting five. All five players were in the double-digits, four of whom went for over 20 points. The top scorer was Damian Lillad, with 25 points.

In the Portland lineup, Mario Hezonja received 14 minutes on the court, which he used for eight points and four rebounds. He was unmistakable from the game and scored all three shots in play -  two of which were three-pointers. 

Combined, the Croatian players tallied 59 points and 34 rebounds in the same night, without Croatia’s most consistent national team player - Bojan Bogdanovic.

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Sunday, 8 March 2020

Croats in NBA: Hezonja Plays Game of Season, Bogdanovic Scores Over 30 for 11th Game

March 8, 2020 - Mario Hezonja played his best game since arriving in Portland last summer, though it still wasn’t enough for the Blazers to win.

In the defeat to the Sacramento Kings (123:111), Hezonja scored 16 points with three rebounds, an assist, and a steal, hitting seven of 11 shots and two of four three-pointers.

This marks the eighth time this season that Hezonja has reached double digits, but so far has always stopped at 10 or 11 points.

He was particularly delighted with this sequence in which he hit a three-pointer in 15 seconds, then stole the ball in defense and scored again from the counter.

Although C.J. McCollum and Hassan Whiteside scored more than him (19 points each), on social networks, the general impression is that Hezonja was the Blazers' best player and that he was the only one really trying, which is especially worrying for Portland when Sacramento is known to be one of its main competitors in the playoff hunt. The Kings were led by Bogdan Bogdanovic with 27 points.

For the 11th time this season, Bojan Bogdanovic reached 30 points, with his Utah Jazz preventing the Pistons' big comeback, celebrating 111:105 in Detroit.

Bogdanovic finished the game with 32 points, five rebounds and two assists, hitting 12 of 18 shots in play, three of six threes and all five free throws.

Utah had seemingly settled the game as early as the second quarter when they were up by 22 points, but the Pistons came back and equalized early in the last period. The Jazz retaliated with an 18-2 series, but even then, the hosts did not surrender and came close to just three points behind in the last minute before Rudy Gobert sealed the win with two free throws.

Next to Bogdanovic was Donovan Mitchell with 25 points, while Christian Wood led the Pistons with 30 points.

Utah has solidified its fifth consecutive win and is in fourth place with a 41-22 ratio in the West, behind third-placed Denver.

In addition to Hezonja and Bojan Bogdanovic, Dragan Bender and Ante Zizic also performed last night.

The Golden State Warriors surprised Philadelphia 118:114, though they did not play Stephen Curry, who returned this week after a four-month break due to a broken arm. American media says he has the flu, not the coronavirus.

In his absence, as many as seven of the nine Warriors who played had a double-digit impact, including Bender, who scored 10 points without a miss in 13 minutes (4/4 from play, 2/2 for three-pointers), while recording three rebounds and one assist.

Damion Lee led the Warriors with 24 points.

Zizic's Cleveland also won a surprising victory over a much more reputable rival by defeating Denver 104:102. The Croatian center, admittedly, played four minutes and recorded only one missed shot. Kevin Love scored 27 and Colin Sexton had 25 points, while Nikola Jokic, on the other hand, had only eight points. For the first time in more than three months, the ‘Joker’ has maintained a single-digit performance.


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Saturday, 7 March 2020

Croats in NBA: Dario Saric Scores 24 Points for Suns, Samanic Debuts for Spurs

March 7, 2020 - Dario Saric achieved his best offensive game of the season in the 127-117 Phoenix Suns' home win against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Croatian basketball player Dario Saric recorded the best performance of the season for points in the 127-117 Phoenix Suns home win against the Portland Trail Blazers, scoring 24 points in 38:05 minutes on the court (two-pointers 7/9, three-pointers 2/4, free throws 4/5) and also recorded eight rebounds, three steals, and one block.

Saric's best offensive performance so far was the 23 points he scored against Atlanta on November 14 last year.

The Suns dominated the entire game, leading from the first to the last minute, and in the third quarter had the most significant 26-point advantage. 

The Suns were led by Aaron Baynes with 37 points and 16 rebounds, while Devin Booker added 23 points and 12 assists.

Mario Hezonja was given a chance for Portland and scored three points in 13:03 minutes on the court (two-pointers 0/1, three-pointers 1/1 shot) with three assists and one block. The guests were led by three players who scored over 20 points - CJ McCollum with 25 points, Damian Lillard with 24 points, and Hassan Whiteside with 23 points and 20 rebounds.

Bojan Bogdanovic didn't have the best night in Boston, but the Utah Jazz still beat the Celtics 99-94. In 25:49 minutes on the court, Bogdanovic scored just eight points (two-pointers 1/4, three-pointers 1/5, free throws 3/3) with four rebounds and one assist. Bogdanovic and Mitchell, who scored only 11 points, were offset by Mike Conley, who scored 25 for the Jazz, while the Celtics, without Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward, can thank Marcus Smart, who scored 29 points on his 26th birthday. 

20-year-old Luka Samanic made his NBA debut on Friday, spending exactly 12 minutes on the court in the 120-139 San Antonio Spurs loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Samanic missed all four shots but recorded two rebounds and three assists. Samanic got a chance in Brooklyn since Spurs coach Gregg Popovich could not count on LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Belinelli and Jacob Poeltl.

The Nets won thanks to the triple-double by Caris LeVert, who scored 27 points with 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while DeMar DeRozan, with 24 rebounds, was the best for the Spurs.


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Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Croats in NBA: Dragan Bender Brilliant for Golden State, Contract Extenstion Likely

March 4, 2020 - The Golden State Warriors made an incredible comeback to celebrate 116:100 against the Denver Nuggets. Dragan Bender left a positive mark on the team and coach in his final contracted game with the Warriors. reports that Dragan Bender played his most effective game this season after he recently signed a ten-day contract with the Golden State Warriors. In a turnaround against Denver, Bender recorded 14 points, five rebounds and two assists, and shots in play percentage of 55.6 percent.

The former fourth NBA draft pick thus likely bought himself another ten-day contract, and possibly a chance to stay with the Warriors for the rest of the season. If you ask coach Golden State coach, Steve Kerr, he would absolutely give Bender at least ten more days.

''I'd love to give him another ten days,” Kerr said after the game.

After three very disappointing years in Phoenix, Bender's NBA career looked like it might be over by the age of 21. However, he did get a chance with the Bucks, who signed him for two years. However, Bender didn't manage to stay there for long and played only seven games, averaging 3.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13 minutes on the court.

Milwaukee had bigger ambitions than to develop Bender, who still failed to prove himself to coach Mike Budenholzer. The Bucks picked up veteran Marvin Williams, who they needed to make the playoffs. In order to get Williams, they had to give up one player on the roster.

Less than two weeks later, Bender was signed by the Warriors, where he got a chance to play 23.4 minutes per game and somehow made an impression on coach Kerr. Kerr gave Bender a chance in the starting five in three of the five games, but he delivered the best off the bench. He is currently averaging 6.2 points and 6.6 rebounds.

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Sunday, 23 February 2020

Croats in NBA: Ivica Zubac Records Season-High 15 Rebounds

February 23, 2020 - LA Clippers’ center Ivica Zubac recorded a season-high 15 rebounds in the Clippers loss to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. 

The Clippers lost to the Sacramento Kings 103:112 in Los Angeles. Ivica Zubac, the Croatian center in the Clippers jersey, recorded 8 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, and one block in 20 minutes on the court, setting a new record for rebounds recorded in a single game this season.  

Zubac was just two points shy of a double-double. However, he has only scored double-digits once in the last ten games for the Clippers. 

Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points, while Sacramento was led by Kent Bazemore with 23 points, and De'Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic with 20 points each.

Croatia’s best basketball player Bojan Bogdanovic had one of his weaker nights in the NBA, and the Utah Jazz lost to Houston 110:120.

Donovan Mitchell was the best for Utah with 31 points, while Bogdanovic scored 12 points in 36 minutes on the court with a poor shots in play ratio of 3/10, adding six rebounds. Houston was led by James Harden with 38 points and Russell Westbrook with 34 points.

After a long time, Zizic and Saric returned to the court.

The currently worst Eastern Conference team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, lost to Miami 105:124. The Cavs center Ante Zizic scored 7 points in 8:35 minutes on the court for the Cavs after a long time.

On Saturday night, the Heat retired the jersey of Dwyane Wade, a Miami player who has participated in All-Star meetings 13 times and won the championship title three times.

The Phoenix Suns defeated the Chicago Bulls 112:104. Dario Saric played just under five minutes for the Suns, recording one rebound and one assist. Recall, Dario Saric had not played a single game in February due to an ankle injury. Before his injury, Saric was averaging career-low points per game this season. 


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Monday, 10 February 2020

Croats in NBA: Bogdanovic Scores Another Impressive Buzzer Beat for Jazz Win

February 10, 2020 - For the second time this season, Bojan Bogdanovic scored a three-pointer at the final buzzer to give Utah Jazz the win.

"This shot was better than the one against Milwaukee," Bojan Bogdanovic said after the game, which Utah Jazz won 114:113 against Houston Rockets. reports that after P. J. Tucker hit a three-pointer to give Houston a 113:111 lead with 1.6 seconds remaining, and it looked like Utah would be without the win at the Toyota Center.

Bojan Bogdanovic wasn’t having the best evening. For the first time since arriving in Salt Lake City, he failed to score any baskets in the first half, and by the end of the game he was on the bench, with just five points and one shot in play (1/6).

Still, coach Quin Snyder decided to use him in the last action of the game.

"I didn't even have to be on the court considering how I played. But the coaches believed in me; they gave me a chance to shoot for the win. I believed I could hit that shot and in the end, we came to that momentous victory," Bogdanovic said overjoyed after the game in which he scored just eight points and recorded single-digits for the second time this season.

Bogdanovic was on the run at the start of the action, then headed for the basket. Then, through the blocks of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, he was nine meters from the basket, received the ball from Joe Ingles, who threw it into play, and nailed a three-pointer over PJ Tucker and James Harden's outstretched arm.

"This one was better than the one against Milwaukee," Bojan answered when asked where he would rank this winning basket.

Three months ago, Bogdanovic hit a three-pointer at the buzzer at home game against the Bucks, when he had 1.3 seconds to hit the winning shot. And even then, Coach Snyder trusted him.

"He's a great competitor and I always tell him just to play. I don't need to point this out; he knows how much I believe in him," the Utah Jazz coach said.

Compliments also came from home team coach Mike D'Antoni.

"There were two players on it. I was afraid we wouldn't make a foul because they were very close. I tip my hat to him for that shot.”

On the way to the Jazz victory, Jordan Clarkson, who was the top scorer with 30 points, made a big contribution to the win. Donovan Mitchell recorded 24 points and Mike Conley scored 20 points. Rudy Gobert recorded a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

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Saturday, 8 February 2020

Croats in NBA: Bogdanovic Scores Team-High 27 Points in Jazz Win

February 8, 2020 - Bojan Bogdanovic added to his already impressive stats this season with 27 points against the Portland Trail Blazers. 

HRT reports that the Utah Jazz was down by 16 points early in the second half, but achieved a massive turnaround and managed to break their five-game losing streak by defeating Portland 117:114.

Croatian basketball player Bojan Bogdanovic was the best for the Jazz with 27 points, scoring key points in the final moments. Namely, 52 seconds before the final buzzer, at 112:112, he scored for the Jazz lead, and a few seconds before the end, he hit one of two free throws for the final score. In addition to 27 points, he also recorded four rebounds, two steals and an assist.

French center Rudy Gobert booked 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Mike Conley scored 18 points for the Jazz.

In almost 27 minutes on the court, Mario Hezonja scored 11 points with six rebounds and three steals for the Trail Blazers. Portland was led by Damian Lillard, who scored 42 points, six rebounds and six assists. However, he was anything but pleased after the game.

“The referees hijacked this win from us,” said Portland's best player, referring to the basket at the end of the game when Gobert blocked the ball for a Jazz lead of 116:114.

“That was a clean situation. Three refs are on the court and none of them saw it. They cost us victories. We are fighting for the playoffs and every win is important to us. We did our best to come up with a tough away win, and they stole it from us.

The whole match I was hit, sometimes I was guarded by three guys, they pulled me, pushed me and I only make three free throws in the game. And then they still make a mistake in a clean situation at the end of the game. Shouldn't we say something about it? Of course, we have to speak, because they cost us victories,” Lillard concluded.

Gobert also acknowledged the error of the judges.

“I did what I could to stop him. It can be seen in the video, he was honest.”

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Sunday, 19 January 2020

Croats in NBA: Bojan Bogdanovic Scores 30 Points for 9th Time this Season

January 19, 2020 - On Saturday night, 11 games were played in the NBA, with Bojan Bogdanovic and Dario Saric brilliant for their teams. 

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Utah Jazz with 30 points in a 123:101 home win over Sacramento. The Croatian basketball player played 31 minutes with 30 points (two-pointers 10/15, three-pointers 6/9, free throws 4/4), two rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

In addition to Bogdanovic, Rudy Gobert was also great for the Jazz with 28 points and 15 rebounds, as was Donovan Mitchell with 22 points and Jordan Clarkson with 20 points. In the ranks of the defeated Kings,  De'Aaron Fox was the best with 21 points.

Also outstanding was Dario Saric, whose Phoenix Suns celebrated somewhat surprisingly in Boston against the Celtics 123:119.

In 38 minutes spent on the court, Saric achieved a double-double with 13 points (two-pointers 6/12, three-pointers 1/4), 11 rebounds and five assists. The Suns were led by Devin Booker, who lacked one assist for the triple-double. He scored 39 points, ten rebounds and nine assists. Deandre Ayton tallied 26 points and 15 rebounds in the win.

The brilliant Marcus Smart scored 37 points for the Celtics, including 11 three-pointers. Jayson Tatum added 26 points with ten rebounds and Gordon Hayward scored 22 points.

The NBA's best Milwaukee Bucks celebrated 117:97 against Brooklyn, and Dragan Bender scored six points with six rebounds in 20 and a half minutes on the court.

The Los Angeles Clippers also defeated the Pelicans in New Orleans 133:130. Ivica Zubac had three points, three rebounds, and two assists in 15 minutes.

Oklahoma City defeated Portland 119:106 in front of its fans. Mario Hezonja played 28 and a half minutes for the guests, scoring four points with eight rebounds and one steal.

Eastern Conference 

Atlantic Division

1.  Toronto        28  14  .667   -
2.  Boston         27  14  .659   0  1/2
3.  Philadelphia   28  16  .636   1
4.  Brooklyn       18  23  .439   9  1/2
5.  New York       11  32  .256  17  1/2

Central Division

1.  Milwaukee      38   6  .864   -
2.  Indiana        27  15  .643  10
3.  Detroit        16  27  .372  21  1/2
4.  Chicago        16  28  .364  22
5.  Cleveland      12  31  .279  25  1/2

Southeast Division

1.  Miami          29  12  .707   -
2.  Orlando        20  23  .465  10
3.  Charlotte      15  29  .341  15  1/2
4.  Washington     13  28  .317  16
5.  Atlanta        10  33  .233  20

Western Conference

Northwest Division

1.  Denver         29  12  .707   -
2.  Utah           29  13  .690   0  1/2
3.  Oklahoma City  24  19  .558   6
4.  Portland       18  26  .409  12  1/2
5.  Minnesota      15  27  .357  14  1/2

Pacific Division

1.  LA Lakers      34   8  .810   -
2.  LA Clippers    30  13  .698   4  1/2
3.  Phoenix        18  24  .429  16
4.  Sacramento     15  27  .357  19
5.  Golden State   10  34  .227  25

Southwest Division

1.  Dallas         27  15  .643   -
2.  Houston        26  15  .634   0  1/2
3.  Memphis        20  22  .476   7
4.  San Antonio    17  23  .425   9
5.  New Orleans    16  27  .372  11  1/2

Source: HRT

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Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Croats in NBA: Bojan Bogdanovic Makes NBA History in 6th Straight Jazz Victory

January 7, 2020 - Croatia basketball team player Bojan Bogdanovic had another memorable night in the NBA on Monday. 

Namely, T.portal reports that the Croatia captain scored 35 points (8/12 two-pointers shot, 3/9 three-pointers, 10/10 free throws) in 33:16 minutes on the court. Bogdanovic was the Utah Jazz's top scorer in the 128:26 away win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Croatian basketball player also made NBA history on Monday and became the first player to have played more than one game in which he scored more than 25 points without registering one assist, rebound, block, or steal. Bogdanovic first achieved this on March 29, 2018, playing for Indiana against Sacramento. The last player to score 35 points without rebounds and assists was Alan Houston in 2000.

Utah has thus reached its sixth consecutive win in New Orleans, and the 11th in its last 12 appearances. In the uncertain ending, the Jazz led 128:126 thanks to Donovan Mitchell, who scored 1:12 minutes before the final buzzer. Brandon Ingram had the last chance, but Rudy Gobert prevented the game from going into extra time. 

In addition to Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles was excellent for the Jazz with 22 points, Rudy Gobert recorded 19 rebounds, while Brandon Ingram scored 35 points for the Pelicans.

Serbian and Slovenian players also had a great Monday evening. Nikola Jokic set a new career record with 47 points in the 123:115 away victory for the Denver Nuggets against the Atlanta Hawks, while Luka Doncic achieved a triple-double with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the 118:110 Dallas Mavericks home win against the Chicago Bulls. 

The San Antonio Spurs were able to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 126:104 at home, giving them only their seventh defeat of the season. DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 25 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo was the best for the Bucks with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Luka Samanic did not play for the Spurs, nor did Dragan Bender for the Bucks

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Sunday, 22 December 2019

Croats in NBA: Bogdanovic Records 10th Game with 25+ Points this Season

December 22, 2019 - Bojan Bogdanovic played another excellent game in the NBA this season, and as the top scorer, led the Utah Jazz to their fifth consecutive victory.

Away in Charlotte (114:107), Bogdanovic scored 26 points with 7/12 shots in play and 4/9 three-pointers, plus three rebounds and one assist. It was Bojan’s 10th game of the season in which he exceeded 25 points.

"I have never seen a player that whenever he receives the ball, everyone on the bench shouts for him to shoot. He usually does, especially at the right time," praised coach Quin Snyder.

Donovan Mitchell added 20 points, Rudy Gobert scored 17 with 19 rebounds, while Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 29 points.

Ivica Zubac played one of his best games this season, recording 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal in the Clippers 134:109 win against San Antonio. However, what was truly impressive was that Ivica scored from all seven attempts in play, which made up for missing two of his three free throws. Zubac spent 11 minutes on the court in the third quarter, though he usually goes out after the fifth, which is the best evidence of how well he played. 

In the spotlight, of course, was Kawhi Leonard, who achieved his first victory in San Antonio after an ugly breakup with the Spurs in the summer of 2018. Last season with Toronto, he lost on his return to the court, and this time he was welcomed with strong whistles and boos every time he touched the ball. Leonard led the Clippers with 26 points, while the Spurs' best was DeMar DeRozan with 24 points. Marko Samanic did not get a chance to play.

The Phoenix Suns lost at home to Houston 139:125. Dario Saric made a considerable effort for the Suns, though it was questionable whether he would play at all due to a leg injury. In less than 20 minutes on the court, he scored 10 points (5/9 shots in play) with five rebounds and one steal. James Harden scored 47points for the Rockets this time.

Mario Hezonja did not play in Portland's 113:106 win over Minnesota, which was the Timberwolves’ 10th consecutive defeat. Dragan Bender also didn’t get a chance in Milwaukee's win against New York (123:102), in which Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and ten assists.

Source:, NBA

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