With Joe Johnson no longer on the Nets, Bojan Bogdanović was inserted back into the starting lineup. Similar to his rookie season, the sharpshooter continues to be shuffled around the rotation. Bogdanović made an instant impression against Phoenix. In a dominant 116-106 victory, the second-year player scored 24 points on eight of sixteen shooting. Bojan was aggressive against a soft Suns defense in 38 minutes of action. Brooklyn emphasized on getting him more involved within their offensive sets. It worked out well for their fifth road win of the season.
Bogdanović takes over against Phoenix
Brooklyn won their second straight game against Utah. Bogdanović struggled by scored eight points on three of eleven shooting in 23 minutes of action. That didn’t stop Brooklyn from winning 98-96 with Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young carrying the scoring load. It was an impressive team performance against one of the best defensive teams in the league. Bojan bounced back against the Clippers on Monday by scoring 19 points on five of twelve shooting. The second year shooting guard also contributed with six rebounds and constantly drove to the hoop effectively. Despite losing 105-95, Bojan has taken a major step by developing from being strictly a spot-shooter to a more complete player.
Denis interviewed Bogdanović following their loss to the Clippers.
The Nets will continue their road trip on Friday against Denver. A quick turnaround will take place on Saturday in Minnesota, before ending their week against Toronto on Monday. Brooklyn is currently 2-2 on their road trip, which is promising for a team that is currently searching for long-term solutions.
With playing time not being stable, Mario Hezonja continues to endure the hardships of being an NBA rookie. In a 130-114 loss to Golden State, Hezonja was limited to mostly garbage time in 15 minutes. The rookie guard scored only three points on one of five shooting. With Stephen Curry lighting up the scoreboard, Orlando had no answer for the superstar point guard. They didn’t have any answer for the Knicks either in a 108-95 loss. Orlando’s defense has slipped over the past few weeks, which leaves Scott Skiles searching for answers. Hezonja played 26 minutes, while scoring eight points on four of eleven shooting. All five three point attempts were missed, along with three turnovers. Mario still struggles with decision making and maintaining proper control when driving to the basket.
Hezonja received his first professional start on Sunday against Philadelphia. With Evan Fournier suffering from a wrist injury, Hezonja played 27 minutes and contributed to Orlando’s offensive explosion. In their 130-116 win over the 76ers, they scored 77 points in the first half. Mario contributed with 13 points on five of nine shooting in 27 minutes of action. The Magic emptied out their bench by the fourth quarter, which marked their most dominant performance of the season.
Orlando begins their hectic week at home against Chicago tonight, before facing Phoenix on Friday. They start their West coast road trip on Monday in a rematch against the Warriors. After facing the best team in the league, they finish their week against the lowly Lakers on Tuesday. Jared Dubin of Bleacher Report recently wrote an excellent piece about Hezonja’s progression.
The Golden State Warriors continue their quest for the best NBA season of all time as they get wins over Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Orlando and Miami this week. Andrew Bogut started for the Warriors at center in all four games and put up an efficient performance in 25 minutes of action. Bogut played well against the Magic and Heat but finished without a rebound against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night in what will most likely go down as the NBA game of the season. The Warriors are on pace to break the 72-10 record held by the Chicago Bulls and need to go 18-4 the rest of the way. Ante Kvartuc will catch up with Bogut this Sunday at the Lakers-Warriors game.
Throw it down big man, throw it down
— Todd Barin (@Todd_Barin) March 3, 2016
Damjan Rudež is back in the doghouse at Minnesota as Timberwolves head coach Sam Mitchell benched the Croatian international this week against the Raptors and Pelicans, while getting 14 minutes against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. The Croatian international finished with three points on 1-4 from downtown and three fouls. Look for the Wolves to decline the $1.9 million option for next season.
Sacramento Kings undrafted rookie, Duje Dukan will finish the rest of the season playing for D-League Bighorns. The former Wisconsin forward is averaging 14 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in 18 games for the Bighorns this season. Duje will need to improve his shooting(37.4%) from the field if he plans to suit up for an NBA team next season.
Duje Dukan will finish season in NBDL
~Allen Strk reporting from New York and Denis Svirčić reporting from sunny Southern California