By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Bogdan Bogdanovic had some rather powerful motivation to drive him towards scoring a career-high 35 points in the Sacramento Kings’ 140 – 125 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
“It might be because we were on national TV, so I had to heat it up a little bit,” Bogdanovic joked during a zoom call following the game. Thanks to his offensive performance and De’Aaron Fox’s contribution, the Kings grabbed their first win in the bubble to retain their playoff hopes.
“It was just one of the nights. I was hot and the other night I was not,” Bogdanovic previously mentioned. The Serbian guard had come off a horrid 1-15 shooting display in an overtime loss to Luka Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks. It was his second-lowest scoring output this season after the two points he had in the 2019-2020 opener.
It was a rather impressive rebound to form, since Bogdanovic went on to drain 6-9 3-pointers and hit 13-20 field goals overall in 37 minutes vs. the Mavs. The 35 points marked the top scoring performance of his career, passing a 32-point game he had with Partizan Belgrade in an ABA League win over Cibona Zagreb back in 2014. In the NBA, his previous record was the 31 points during a 2019 Kings‘ win over the Phoenix Suns.
“I think it can happen to everybody,” Bogdanovic said on if he changed anything during his day-to-day routine following the match against the Mavericks. “I was just maybe a little bit more mentally locked in. Before the game against Dallas, I did all the same things I did today. I didn’t change my routine at all. I got into the gym as I do every other time, I got my shots, I stuck to my routine, Honestly, that’s all.”
The one factor that probably steered Bogdanovic towards reclaiming his offensive touch was the pressure to deliver big for the victory-craving Kings.
“Sometimes you’re going to have bad nights and maybe that’s what was driving me a little bit more, putting the pressure on me a little bit,” Bogdanovic said. “I like the pressure. I think that when I’m under pressure I react well and I always have to have that in my mind.”
“When you’re 0-3 and it’s your last chance and your back is up to the wall, you have to give everything. It’s just more hustle and mental game for you. That’s a good reaction of a team,” Bogdanovic added.
Bogdanovic had built a strong winning mentality in Europe, particularly during his decorated stint Fenerbahce. With the Kings pushing for a playoff return for the first time since 2006, he wants to transmit that spirit to the team.
“My style of playing is winning basketball. We are all trying as a team to get into the playoffs. We all know what we have to do and what needs to happen. We are getting closer, step by step. We missed a couple of chances already. We blew that game against Orlando, we had two really good games against Dallas and San Antonio. We could win at least one. But it is what it is, that’s basketball. This is the NBA.”
Fox talked about Bogdanovic’s unselfish style of play. His teammate attributes this to learning basketball in Serbia.
“From the place I’m coming from, that’s how we learn to play. Unselfishly… reading the game.”