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

Daniela Rogulj

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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