The most amazing part of Bojan Bogdanovic’s night might’ve been that he passed at all.
Bogdanovic, in the midst of a career night where the crowd rose and fell with every shot he took, had one last chance to pad his gaudy point total with the game well in hand in the waning moments. But instead of hoisting up a low-percentage shot, Bogdanovic dished off to Sean Kilpatrick, his teammate on a ten-day contract, for a wide-open corner three.
When asked how hard it is to pass the ball on a night like that, Bogdanovic laughed. “I mean, that’s a good question. But I am European, so for me it’s not that bad to pass the ball.”
Let’s not paint Bogdanovic as a Jason Kidd-quality passer. It was only his second assist of the night. But when you’re hitting shots like Bogdanovic was, every pass seems like the most unselfish moment of your career. Bogdanovic finished the 131-114 victory over the Philadephia 76ers with a career-high 44 points on 17-27 field goals, setting a record for the most points scored by a Nets player at Barclays Center. Bogdanovic also tied his childhood idol, guard Drazen Petrovic, for the most points by a foreign-born Nets player.
HUGE Night for my teammate @44Bojan !!!!! Great things happen to great people, happy for you bro! Boy was on fire!!!
— Sean Kilpatrick Jr (@SeanKilpatrick_) March 16, 2016
“I thought that (Petrovic) scored even more, so I’m really proud to tie his record,” Bogdanovic added, again following a laugh. As you might expect, Bogdanovic was all smiles following the events of the evening.
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Bogdanovic hit his first nine shots en route to his career high, and most of the looks he created were easy ones. The 76ers often went small with two or even three point guards, and Bogdanovic took advantage by carving out space in the post to get easy looks at the basket. After rebounds, he leaked out in transition for layups. He buried three-pointers when teammates created opportunities. By the end, Bogdanovic buried a couple turnaround jumpers like wide-open dunks.
“I’m sure we’ll go back to the tape and say we could’ve done better, but I think a large part is he is just a big wing and we had a hard time matching up,” 76ers coach Brett Brown noted. “We ran out of bodies to match up on him. But it shouldn’t take away from the great game he had.”
By the fourth quarter, it was clear Bogdanovic was gunning for 50, and his teammates were looking to get him the ball at just about every opportunity. But the 76ers made a concerted effort to force the ball away from him, and he missed a couple of tough looks to finish with 44.
“I tried (to get 50), but then I missed a couple shots and then I was like, alright 40 is good too,” Bogdanovic joked.
On that last play, when Bogdanovic swung the ball to Kilpatrick to the dismay of the crowd, Kilpatrick buried the open corner three-pointer to match his own career high of 19 points.
Bogdanovic’s message to Kilpatrick? Knock it down.
“The sick part is, when he threw the ball, he said, ‘hit it!'” Kilpatrick said.
“I knew he was hot throughout the whole game, and I can at least return the favor with hitting a three for him.”