The first 3-point shot that Bojan Bogdanovic took on Friday night clanged off the front of the rim.
He’d go on to take 22 more shots and make 16 of them, including eight of his next 10 3-point attempts en route to a 48-point career night in a 127-120 win over the Denver Nuggets.
With Bogdanovic at the free throw line late in the fourth quarter the crowd at Vivint Arena erupted into cheers of “Bogey, Bogey,” and his teammates poured water over his head after the final buzzer as the crowd gave the night’s leading man a standing ovation.
Cheers and water celebration for Bojan pic.twitter.com/EN9Jys4PQv— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) May 8, 2021
Bogdanovic’s previous career-high of 44 was set back in 2016, in his second year in the NBA while he was playing for the Brooklyn Nets. With a smile on his face in his walk-off interview, Bogdanovic thanked the crowd for making the night special for him and later went into more detail.
“It’s just incredible,” he said. “It’s been a while since my career-high record with 44 in Brooklyn, I didn’t think I was going to have a chance to break my career high again. So, it was special and the crowd was amazing.”
Bogdanovic got himself into rhythm early by scoring in the post with a couple of drives to the rim, beating his man with a quick first step. Then, with Michael Porter Jr. guarding him, he started to get a little more confident.
With his confidence up he pushed the ball in transition and scored through contact in traffic.
“What didn’t we see from him tonight?” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “I thought he was making great reads. He really scored every way possible, he got stuff transition, catch-and-shoot 3s, he scored off the dribble, and even late when they started started blitzing him, he found Rudy (Gobert) a couple times, which says a lot when you’ve got it going the way he has. He’s is just being aggressive.”
After a couple more short jumpers in the paint, Bogdanovic made his first 3 — a straight away wide open look from the top of the arc — with 5:19 left to play in the second quarter. From that point on, he looked unstoppable.
He pulled up early in the shot clock and hit a shot in the face of Porter, repeated his above-the-break look a couple possessions later, and then his release became quicker off the dribble and on pull-ups, no matter who was in front of him.
Then things just got ridiculous with Bogdanovic getting the rebound off his own miss, only to take the ball back out to the 3-point line, then turn around and blow by Nikola Jokic and dodge Paul Millsap at the rim for a wrap-around circus shot.
“I’m lost for words,” Georges Niang said of his teammate’s performance. “We know that he’s capable of this and he’s just a fun-loving guy, and for him to have all this success, it’s amazing. I don’t even know how to put the performance into words because it just seems like every shot he threw up there was just hitting the back of the net. And he deserves this, he works extremely hard.”
Bogdanovic went on to hit three more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and celebrate a 48-point career night in front of an adoring crowd and a team that couldn’t have been happier for him.