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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Saturday, 6 February 2021

Croats in NBA: Brilliant Bogdanovic Scores 31 Points, Zubac Sets Season Record

February 6, 2021 - It was a great night for Croats in the NBA, as the brilliant Bogdanovic scores 31 points, and Ivica Zubac sets a new season record. 

Bojan Bogdanovic played perhaps the most complete game of his career, leading the Utah Jazz to a new victory and helped the club set a new three-point record, reports Index.hr.

Utah defeated Charlotte 138:121 away, scoring 26 three-pointers, the most in its history. Bogdanovic excelled with 31 points, seven rebounds, and five assists; he was 10/15 for field goals, 7/10 for three-pointers, and 4/4 from the free-throw line.

He was especially hot in the third quarter when he scored four three-pointers just a minute and a half apart!

This is his second game of the season in which he has surpassed 30 points, equaled his best rebound and three-point performance of the season, and has only had more assists once.

After a poor shooting start to the season, which could be attributed to joint surgery, a long pause, and needing to find his rhythm, Bogdanovic has averaged 26.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in the last five games, with a field goal percentage of 60% and a three-point percentage of 58.5%. 

Utah has racked up three wins since losing in Denver, meaning they have won 14 of their last 15 games and still have the best ratio in the NBA league.

Index.hr also reports that Ivica Zubac hit all seven field goals and achieved a season-record 14 points, but his LA Clippers lost at home to Boston 119:115.

The Clippers were without Paul George and Patrick Beverley, and the Celtics without Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. Boston was led by Jayson Tatum with 34 points and the Clippers by Kawhi Leonard with 28 points.

Zubac spent a little over 20 minutes on the court, scoring 14 points, six rebounds, and one block, all with a perfect 7/7 for field goals. Offensively, he dominated against the smaller and physically weaker center lineup of Boston.

“His presence was huge,” coach Ty Lue said after the game. 

Zubac's best performance so far this season was 13 points against Atlanta and recorded the most in his career when he scored 26 points in January 2019, still in the LA Lakers jersey, a few weeks before the Clippers trade.

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Saturday, 30 January 2021

Croats in NBA: Bogdanovic Scores Season-High 32 Points in Jazz Victory

January 30, 2021 - Croatian basketball player Bojan Bogdanovic scores season-high 32 points in the Utah Jazz's 120-101 victory against the Dallas Mavericks, which was Utah's 11th consecutive victory.

Utah continued a great series against Dallas, and Croatian basketball player Bojan Bogdanovic was brilliant, scoring 32 points in 32 minutes, which is his highest this season.

As many as 17 were scored in the third quarter which the hosts won 33-23. Bogdanovic scored 10/16 from shots in play, 7/11 from three-pointers, while he was 5/5 from the free-throw line. He also recorded two assists.

"The coaches told me that they want me to shoot more, to be aggressive," said the Croatian basketball player.

"I try to be my own and I try to be aggressive regardless of the shot percentage," Bogdanovic added.

"We are much better off when he is so aggressive," said Mike Conley who scored 22 points and nine assists.

Along with Bogdanovic and Conley, the best in the ranks of Utah were Jordan Clarkson with 18 points and six rebounds, and Rudy Gobert with 17 points and 12 rebounds, which is his eighth double-double in a row.

Slovenian Luka Doncic was the most efficient for the Mavericks with 25 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. Jalen Brunson added 13 points.

"Terrible, I'd say it looked like we didn’t care if we won. We just have to invest more energy and more effort," Doncic said after the match.

Utah leads the West 15-4, while Dallas has eight wins and 11 losses and holds 13th place in the same conference.

The LA Clippers also won, beating the Orlando Magic 116-90 on the road.

The Clippers were led by Paul George with 26 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, and Kawhi Leonard with 24 points.

"We were both great," George said when asked who was better.

"I was extremely relieved that we were both healthy, first of all. We played so well that it was unfortunate that we had to take a break, but safety comes first," he added.

The two stars had been quarantined according to the protocol since Monday. They were quarantined on Monday as the team headed from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and re-joined the team in Orlando after missing two games.

Ivica Zubac scored four points for the Clippers in 21 minutes, with 2/5 shots in play, and recorded seven rebounds and an assist. The most efficient for Orlanda was Terrence Ross with 24 points and Nikola Vucevic with 10 points and six rebounds.

The San Antonio Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets 119-109, and Luka Samanic did not play for the Spurs.

The Spurs were led by DeMar DeRozan with 30 points and 10 assists and Dejounte Murray with 26 points and seven rebounds, while the most efficient for Denver was Nikola Jokic with 35 points and 10 rebounds.

Source: HRT

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Sunday, 24 January 2021

Croats in NBA: Bogdanovic Achieves Career-8 Assists vs. Warriors

January 24, 2021 - A great night for the Croatian basketballer, as Bojan Bogdanovic achieves career-8 assists against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. 

Utah Jazz has been in phenomenal form lately. The convincing victory against the Golden State Warriors is now the eighth in a row, which is currently the longest streak in the NBA.

Donovan Mitchell was the best for Utah with 23 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, but he was again helped by the collective contribution of his teammates. Among them is the best Croatian basketball player Bojan Bogdanovic, who did not have such a great shooting night, but with 14 points, he added seven rebounds and eight assists, a career record for the Croatian. "Babo" plays the role of an executor, not a playmaker, and on average has recorded 1.7 assists per game in his career, making this is a great achievement for the Mostar native.

Steph Curry was the best for Golden State, recording 24 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, but also scored five three-pointers for a total of 2562 in his career, overtaking the legendary Reggie Miller in second place in the league's most three-pointers. In front of the Warriors star is now only Ray Allen with 2973 career three-pointers.

All three Brooklyn Nets stars came out on the floor again on Saturday. Durant, Irving, Harden managed to beat Miami, even with Bam Adebayo, who scored 41 points with five rebounds and nine assists for this career record. The Nets were led by Durant with 31 points, Irving with 28, and Harden with 12, but with 11 assists, he was the team’s best assistant.

The Denver Nuggets beat the Phoenix Suns for the second time in two nights, and both games went into overtime. After the Nuggets managed to win in the first game after one overtime, they needed two in this one, and Nikola Jokic led them to victory with 29 points and 22 rebounds, which is his career record, and six assists.

Dario Saric was once again not on the list of active players because he is in self-isolation.

Source: Novi List

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Thursday, 21 January 2021

Croats in NBA: Ivica Zubac Records His First Double-Double of Season

January 21, 2021 - 23-year-old Ivica Zubac records his first double-double of the season in the Los Angeles Clippers' win against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. 

Ivica Zubac played the best game of the season in the LA Clippers' 115:96 victory against Sacramento on Wednesday. 

The Croatian basketballer played 22 and a half minutes and achieved his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds. He hit four of five shots in play and all three free throws and even recorded one assist and one block.

“My teammates needed me, I jumped as I know how and tried to contribute in both directions,” Zubac said after the game.

He is no longer a starter this season and comes off the bench.  Thus, even though his minutes are almost the same, it can be seen in his numbers because he is scoring 1.8 points and 2.6 rebounds less than last season.


"I accepted it as a challenge. I have to be ready from the first minute when I enter the game. It's different than when you're a starter, but we all have to adjust. I'm doing what I can to help the team," Zubac said modestly explaining the difference in approach between the two roles. 

Teammate Paul George also praised the Croatian Clippers' player. 

"Zu doesn't know how dominant he can be. You forget how young he is, he's still a baby... it is very rare you find bigs his size in the league today. That is one of the advantages he has. He has to own being the biggest guy on the floor."

Kawhi Leonard was the Clippers' top scorer on Wednesday with 32 points, George scored 19 with 12 assists and seven rebounds, and De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 25 points.

Source: Index.hr

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Monday, 23 November 2020

Dario Saric Signs A Three-Year Contract Worth $27 Million with Phoenix Suns

November 23, 2020 - The latest news about Croats in the NBA, as Dario Saric signs a three-year contract worth $27 million with Phoenix. 

Croatia national basketball team member Dario Saric has agreed on a new three-year contract with the Phoenix Suns, announced Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Sibenik native will earn $27 million in three years with the Suns.

Saric's rookie contract, which he signed with Philadelphia in 2016, expired this year. From there, he went to Minnesota, and in July 2019, he ended up in Phoenix. He finished last season averaging 10.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game.

Saric had ups and downs with Phoenix, and his worst was in January and February this year when his minutes were reduced to below 20 per game, and thus his performance worsened (7.1 points and 4 rebounds per game). But later in the season, Saric showed his worth, averaging 18.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in March. Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a break in the NBA, which lasted until the end of July.

Screenshot 2020-11-23 at 19.15.45.png

Recall, the end of the season and the playoffs were held in a 'bubble' in Orlando. Phoenix won all eight games in Orlando and missed the playoffs by a hair. In those eight games, Saric had an average of 14.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

The Croatian basketball player will receive $8.3 million for the first year of the contract, $9.7 million for the second, and $9.7 million for the third.

Saric started 51 of 66 games for Phoenix with averages of 10.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 35.7% three-pointers in 24.7 minutes of play. The Suns were happy with Saric and planned to bring him back. They activated his qualifying offer and turned him into a limited free agent. This meant that Dario could negotiate with other clubs, but the Suns could equalize that offer and thus keep him on the squad.

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 21 November 2020

Memphis Grizzlies Bring in Mario Hezonja from Portland Trail Blazers

November 21, 2020 - The latest on Croats in the NBA, as the Memphis Grizzlies bring in Mario Hezonja from the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Index.hr reports that Mario Hezonja is the new player of the Memphis Grizzlies, ESPN journalist Adrian Wojnarovski announced on Friday. Hezonja was traded to Memphis for Enes Kanter who is returning to Portland after two years.

It will be Hezonja's sixth season in the NBA league next season after being selected as the fifth pick in the 2015 draft. He spent the first three in Orlando, one in New York, and last year in Portland. Next up is Memphis.

Last season, Hezonja played in 53 games, four of which he started in the top five thanks to a series of injuries that crippled the Blazers. He averaged 4.8 points, 3.5 rebounds with a shots in play percentage of 42% and a 31% success rate for three points in 16.4 minutes on the court.

A few weeks ago, Hezonja angered many Croats when he took to his social media to say that he does not play for the Croatia national team because he is tired and doesn't enjoy it. Croatia coach Veljko Mršić then said that he would not call him up again, but not because of that statement, but because he did not answer his calls. Hezonja then trolled HKS in the story about the esport national team, when the Federation said that Hezonja could not play for it because he did not register on time. Hezonja replied: "How come I didn't? I called, but you didn't answer."

Of the other Croatian players, Bojan Bogdanović has a contract with the Utah Jazz, Ivica Zubac with the LA Clippers, and Luka Šamanić with the San Antonio Spurs. Darijo Šarić's contract with the Phoenix Suns has expired and he is now a limited free agent, which means that he can negotiate with other clubs, but the Suns can still match the offer and to keep him. According to the latest information from America, the Suns would gladly keep him for a reasonable price.

Ante Žižić and Dragan Bender returned to the Euroleague and play for Maccabi. Bender signed a three-month contract so he could return to the NBA in the event of a good offer, but so far he has not been satisfied in Israel either.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Croats in NBA: Dario Saric and Ivica Zubac Strong in Team Wins

August 9, 2020 - Croatian basketball player Dario Saric was solid in the Phoenix Suns' victory against Miami Heat last night, as was Ivica Zubac, whose LA Clippers outplayed the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Phoenix Suns (31-39) beat Miami 119-112, with Saric scoring ten points in 22 minutes on the court (shots in play 2/5, three-pointers 2/3) and recorded eight rebounds and one assist and one steal. With 35 points, Devin Booker was the top scorer for the winning team, which is undefeated since arriving in Orlando and is currently tenth in the Western Conference.

Deandre Ayton added 18 points with 12 rebounds and Jevon Carter added 20 points.

Miami (43-27), who played without its three top scorers, was led by Tyler Herro with 25 points, ten assists and eight rebounds.

Ivica Zubac contributed to the Los Angeles Clippers' 122-117 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers with nine points (shots in play 2/5), 12 rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes spent on the court.

Paul George was the best individual for the Clippers with 21 points, while Portland was led by CJ McCollum with 29 points and eight assists. Damian Lillard and Gary Trent Jr. each scored 22, and Carmelo Anthony 21.

The Dallas Mavericks (42-30) outscored the Milwaukee Bucks 136-132 after extra time, and Luka Doncic reached his 17th triple-double this season with 36 points, 19 assists and 14 rebounds.

Dorian Finney-Smith added 27 points and 11 rebounds for Dallas to make up for the seven-point deficit in overtime, and Kristaps Porzingis added 26 points and 11 rebounds.

For Milwaukee (55-15), Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo were best, who both finished the game with 34 points.

The Indiana Pacers (43-27) were better than the Los Angeles Lakers (51-18), and were led to a 116-111 victory by T.J. Warren, who scored 39 points. Malcolm Brogdon added 24 points and Victor Oladipo added 22.

LeBron James, who missed the game against the Houston Rockets on Thursday, returned to the court and finished the game with 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

And in the last game played last night, the Denver Nuggets celebrated 134-132 against the Utah Jazz after two overtimes. Nikola Jokic scored 30 points with 11 rebounds for Denver, while Donovan Mitchell was the best for Utah with 35 points.

Source: T.portal

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Thursday, 14 May 2020

Olympic Qualifying Tournament Dates Set for Split, NBA Stars to Help Croatia

May 14, 2020 - Croatia will have the help of NBA players in the qualifications for the Olympic Games next summer.

Gol.hr reports that the qualifying tournaments for national basketball teams to participate in the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which have been postponed for the summer of 2021, hosted by Split, Belgrade, Kaunas and Canadian Victoria, will be played from June 29 to July 4 next year. The news was decided after consultations between the World Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

At the meeting of the FIBA Executive Board in early April, changes were voted in the competition calendar, where the qualifying tournaments were scheduled from June 22 to July 4, with the representatives of the umbrella basketball organization advocating the start of the competition as late as possible, so that the national teams and players have more time to prepare.

The biggest problem for the realization of this idea was the deadline for the completion of Olympic qualifications for all sports, set by the IOC on June 29, 2021. However, the working group of the IOC Executive Board accepted the arguments put forward by FIBA representatives in talks on qualifying tournament dates and on Wednesday, it was confirmed that the date for all four tournaments would be from June 29 to July 4, according to a district letter sent to national federations on Wednesday by FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis.

Recall, Croatia is one of the hosts of the tournament. Thus, in Split, the Croatia national team will face off against Brazil and Tunisia in the first round, and Russia, Germany and Mexico in the second group. The two best national teams will advance to the semifinals, and only the winning national team of each of the four tournaments will win a place among the 12 national teams that will play at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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