Croats in NBA: Mario Hezonja On a Roll, Achieves First Triple-Double of Career!

Daniela Rogulj

Mario Hezonja played another great game in the New York Knicks jersey. The Croatian basketball player found a place in the starting lineup and made his debut as a point guard for the New York club. But better yet, he also achieved the first triple-double of his career against James Harden’s Houston Rockets, reports on April 6, 2019. 

Apart from making his debut as the Knicks’ point guard on Friday night, with a spot in the starting five, Mario Hezonja achieved the first triple-double of his career with 16 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. The Knicks’ might have lost to the Houston Rockets (120:96), but it’ll be a game Hezonja will remember for a lifetime.

“Super Mario” has thus become only the second player in Knicks’ history with at least 16/16/11 in a single game. Before he was only Richie Guerin in 1957. It was also the first triple-double of a Knicks’ player after Jarrett Jack’s on January 11, 2018, and he even became the first Croatian after Toni Kukoč with a triple-double performance.

“He had a great game, organized us, called for real attacks, attacked when he had to attack and did a great job on rebounds,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said.

Harden had a relatively quiet evening for his standards lately. He still scored 26 points and eight assists in just 29 minutes on the court, while Chris Paul (11 points, 10 assists) and Clint Capela (12 points, 15 rebounds) achieved double-doubles.

Hezonja was given a chance to start as the point guard as Emmanuel Mudiay is out for a left shoulder injury. Hezonja showed he was indeed worthy of his spot on the Knicks’ team. 

Dario Šarić scored 19 points (4/6 for two-pointers, 2/4 for three-pointers, 5/5 free throws) in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ win against Miami Heat (111:109).

Ante Žižić scored 12 points with six rebounds in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ close defeat to the Western Conference leader Golden State Warriors, led by Steph Curry with 40 points, seven assists and six rebounds. The Warriors celebrated 120:114.

Dragan Bender’s Phoenix Suns won against the New Orleans Pelicans after extra time 133:126 (117-117). The Croatian scored 11 points and added six assists and 10 rebounds. The most efficient was Jackson with 35 points, nine assists and five rebounds.

Ivica Zubac scored 11 points in the derby of the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers and added eight rebounds. 

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