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. 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.

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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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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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Thursday, 14 November 2019

Croats in NBA: Mario Hezonja Solid in Portland Loss

November 14, 2019 - Ivica Zubac scored seven points in the Clippers loss to the Houston Rockets, while Mario Hezonja scored double-digits in Portland's defeat to the Raptors. 

The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 102:93. James Harden, who finished with 47 points, was most credited with the Rockets win. Harden added six rebounds and seven assists to his 47 points. Russell Westbrook tallied 17 points and Clint Capela had 12 points and 20 rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard, on the other side, had 26 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists, while Lou Williams scored 20. Ivica Zubac played ten minutes and added seven points, four rebounds and two assists for the Clippers. 

Houston has come to its fifth win in a row and eighth this season. They are currently third in the Western Conference. The Clippers suffered their fourth defeat and are in fifth place. 

The Boston Celtics recorded their ninth straight win by defeating the Washington Wizards 140:133 in a game where Bradley Beal scored 44 points and added five rebounds and six assists.

The winning team also featured Kemba Walke, who scored 25 points, five rebounds and one assist, while Jason Tatum scored 23 points, three rebounds, and four assists.

Ja Morant was the hero of the Memphis Grizzlies against the Charlotte Hornets. In the last second, he hit the winning basket for 119:117.

The Grizzlies have thus reached their second win in a row, fourth in the season, and are 13th in the Western Conference. Charlotte suffered their fourth straight defeat, seventh overall, and is ranked 12th in the Eastern Conference.

Morant was the most efficient on the Memphis team with 23 points and 11 assists, while Marko Guduric recorded 17 points with two rebounds. Terry Rozier, on the other side, had 33 points, five rebounds, and six assists.

The Portland Trail Blazers recorded another defeat after losing to the Toronto Raptors 114:106 at home. Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 36 points and six rebounds, while Fred Van Vleet added 30 points and seven assists.

Rodney Hood led the Blazers with 25 points. Double-digits were also recorded by Mario Hezonja, who scored ten points in 14 minutes (1/2 for two-pointers, 1/3 for three-pointers, 5/6 free throws) and added six rebounds.

Other results include the Los Angeles Lakers' 120:94 victory over the Golden State Warriors. The Minnesota Timberwolves celebrated 129:114 against the San Antonio Spurs. Orlando Magic celebrated 112:97 against the Philadelphia 76-Sixers.


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Friday, 8 November 2019

Croats in NBA: Ivica Zubac Records Double-Double in Clippers Win against Portland

November 8, 2019 - Ivica Zubac was better than Mario Hezonja last night in the Clippers' victory against the Portland Trail Blazers. 

The LA Clippers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 107:101 on Thursday night, which saw Croatian basketball player Ivica Zubac contribute to the win with his second double-double performance of the season. 

Zubac finished the game with 15 points (shots in play 7/12), 13 rebounds, nine of which were on offense, one assist, and a steal and two blocks in 20 minutes on the court.

Kawhi Leonard, who returned to the court after a one-game break, scored 27 points with 13 rebounds for the 900th victory of LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers. Lou Williams added 26 points with eight assists.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were the best for Portland with 22 points each, while Mario Hezonja played 25 minutes and scored just two points with a catastrophic shot in play (1/9), though he was 3/3 on three-pointers, recorded five rebounds and one steal. 


On Thursday night, Dario Saric also hit the NBA court and scored nine points in the Phoenix Suns defeat to the Miami Heat (108:124). Saric scored nine points (shots in play 3/9, three-pointers 2/7) and recorded four rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

Jimmy Butler led Miami with 34 points and Goran Dragic with 25 points. The Suns' top scorer was Aaron Baynes with 23 points, while Devin Booker scored 22.

The San Antonio Spurs outplayed the Oklahoma City Thunder 121:112, and LaMarcus Aldridge scored his season-best 39 points to help his team win the first game after two losses. Danilo Gallinari led Oklahoma with 27 points.

Luka Samanic did not enter the game for San Antonio.

In the last game played last night, the Boston Celtics outscored the Charlotte Hornets 108:87.

On Wednesday night, Bojan Bogdanovic contributed 20 points to the Utah Jazz win over the Philadelphia 76ers (106:104). Bogdanovic scored 20 points in 35 minutes (shots in play 9/18 shot, three-pointers 3/5) and added six rebounds, five assists, one steal ball, and one block. 

Source: HRT

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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Croats in NBA: Zubac Records Best Defensive Game Yet, Bogdanovic Scores 29 Points

October 29, 2019 - Clippers center Ivica Zubac played the defensive game of his career, while Bojan Bogdanovic's stellar start continues for the Utah Jazz. 

After an unexpected defeat to the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Clippers responded much better at home, where they easily topped the Charlotte Hornets 111:96.

Croatian center Ivica Zubac finished the game with 7 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes in the ranks of the Clippers, but had the best defensive night of his career as he recorded five blocks during that period. He has never recorded more in a single NBA game, reported

The Clippers were led by a fantastic Kawhi Leonard with 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists. The Hornets were able to stay in the game until the end of the third quarter when the Clippers led by double-digits, though they were unable to return by the end of the match.

The Hornets thus recorded their third defeat in four games, while the Clippers reached their third win in four games.

Utah narrowly celebrated away at Phoenix on Monday night (96:95). Bojan Bogdanovic’s hot start continued in yet another excellent game in the Utah jersey. In 37 minutes on the court, he scored 29 points (4/5 two-pointers, 4/8 three-pointers, 9/9 free throws) with five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block. Dario Saric played 21 minutes for Phoenix and scored 4 points (0/1 two-pointers, 1/1 three-pointers, 1/2 free throws) with one rebound and three assists.

San Antonio was better than Portland 113:110. Luka Samanic did not enter the game for San Antonio, and Mario Hezonja played 19 minutes for Portland and scored 8 points (0/2 two-pointers, 2/5 three-pointers, 2/2 free throws) with six rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Recall,  this comes two days after the biggest upset of the season so far, when Phoenix upset Los Angeles Clippers 130:122. Dario Saric had the better evening then and finished the game with a double-double (15 points and ten rebounds) in 34 minutes on the court, while Zubac added 7 points and five rebounds in 15 minutes, but only hit a weak one of four shots in play. 

Bogdanovic also led the Jazz with 26 points just two days ago against Sacramento, recording four rebounds, one assist, and one steal. He hit five of nine two-pointers, two three-pointers, and one free throw. And all this despite an ankle sprain, which he suffered in his debut for the new club on Thursday night. 

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Friday, 18 October 2019

Croats in NBA: Mario Hezonja Top Scorer for Portland Against Denver Nuggets

October 18, 2019 - Croatian basketball player Mario Hezonja was the Portland Trail Blazers' top scorer in a 104-110 defeat to the Denver Nuggets in the last preseason game before the regular NBA season begins. writes that Hezonja scored 18 points in 28 minutes on the court with 6/11 shots in play and 3/4 for three-pointers. He also achieved five rebounds, six assists, and one block. The best for Denver was Will Barton and Paul Millsap, who each scored 13 points. This is Portland's third defeat in five preseason games.

''I'm by no means happy with the team's defensive reaction. Hezonja taught us a lesson,” Denver coach Mike Malone said after the game.

In the five preseason games, Hezonja averaged 10.8 points and 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists with a shooting percentage of 50%. However, most important is that he’s made his role clear on the team and guaranteed minutes in the rotation.

Ivica Zubac and Dragan Bender also hit the NBA court on Thursday night. In the LA Clippers defeat to the Dallas Mavericks (87-102), Zubac booked 16 minutes on the court, scored two points (shots in play 1/3 shot), and recorded three rebounds and one assist.

The Clippers' top scorer was Montrezl Harell with 14 points, while Dallas was led by Kristaps Porzingis and Justin Jackson with 18 points. Luka Doncic added 15. In the NBA preseason, the Clippers have two wins and three losses. 

Dragan Bender had a weak night in the Milwaukee Bucks' 118-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the three minutes he spent on the court, he only registered one block. Giannis Antetokounmpo, with 26 points, was the best for the Bucks, who had five wins in five preseason games.

Croatian basketball player Bojan Bogdanovic had a tough shooting night in the 118-126 home defeat of the Utah Jazz against the Portland Trail Blazers in their last preseason game on Wednesday.  Bogdanovic started the game in Utah's top five and was on the court for 25 minutes, where he missed all nine shots in play (0-4 for two-pointers, 0-5 for three-pointers), hitting just one free throw with one assist.

The regular NBA season begins on October 22, 2019. 

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Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Croats in NBA: Dario Saric Debuts for Suns, Mario Hezonja for Portland Trail Blazers

October 9, 2019 - Dario Saric and Mario Hezonja made their Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers debut in the NBA preseason on Tuesday evening. Bojan Bogdanovic made his Utah Jazz break on October 5. reports that Dario Saric hit the court in a new NBA jersey on Tuesday - the jersey of the Phoenix Suns. In his debut, Saric received 17 and a half minutes on the court against his former team Minnesota Timberwolves. The game ended 111:106 for the Suns, and Saric contributed four points, seven rebounds, and one assist.

Ahead of the meeting, Phoenix coach Monty Williams said he would give his major players between 17 and 20 minutes on the court. As we know, Saric received 17 and a half, while DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker each booked 21 minutes and Ricky Rubio 20.

The Croatia national team representative had a poor shooting night in which he hit just one of five attempts in the game. He scored one of two from the free-throw line, though he did catch seven rebounds, six of which were in the defense.

Mario Hezonja debuted for the Portland Trail Blazers in a 105:94 defeat to the Denver Nuggets and was the team's top scorer with 12 points in 20 minutes (3/5 for two-pointers, 0/2 for three-pointers), adding six rebounds and two assists. Hezonja also entered the game from the bench. 

Luka Samanic did not get a chance to play in the San Antonio Spurs defeat to Miami Heat 108:89.

Recall, a few days before on Saturday, Bojan Bogdanovic debuted for the Utah Jazz. Namely, the Jazz was convincing against the Australian Adelaide 36ers (133:81), and the Croatia captain scored 10 points with four rebounds and assists in 20 minutes on the court. 

The Utah Jazz was led by Tony Bradley with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Jeff Green added 16. Bogdanovic was one of seven players to hit double-digits on the winning team.

The regular NBA season will begin on October 22, 2019.

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