By John Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Luka Doncic is always at the center of attention, especially when the Dallas Mavericks play at home. On Sunday, the Slovenian sensation passed Michael Jordan setting a new NBA record by banking over 20 points, five rebounds and five dimes for the 19th straight game, landed on the wrong side of the result though. The Sacramento Kings powered by their Serbian pair prevailed.
Down 8-13 following a three-game losing streak, the visitors really needed the win and Nemanja Bjelica delivered matching his career-high 30 points in 34 minutes of work, put up seven boards, four assists, one interception and one block as well. Completely forgotten by the defense, the 31-year-old forward made a clutch bucket on an in-bound pass from fellow Serbian Bogdan Bogdanovic to seal the “W”. Doncic previously missed his shot that would have knotted the 2019-20 NBA Regular Season contest.
“One of my best, here for sure” reckoned Bjelica on his outing being the best of his career, “I was feeling good, coach trusts me, I have a green light to shoot. That’s my advantage on offense. I need to get a little bit better on defense, but the important thing is we won the game. After we lost against San Antonio, it’s a very important win for us.”
With 9/11 inside the rainbow and 4/7 from three-point range, he tied his career-high 30 points. His only other 30-point outing of his professional tenure came in March of 2018, but was not enough for the Minnesota Timberwolves against the Boston Celtics.
Bjelica joined the Kings following the conclusion of the 2017-18 season meeting Bogdanovic at Sacramento. “This is different team this year,” he pointed out on the team evolving, “We just need to play 48 minutes. Everybody can play and everybody can score in this league. We have a bright future, but we are here to win games.”
“Tonight he was aggressive”
“He has the skill, the passing ability and the shooting ability to really put pressure on the defense,” head coach Luke Walton said on his player’s impressive performance, “We’re constantly encouraging him to be more aggressive and tonight he was aggressive.”
The Kings are now one win outside the Western Conference’s playoffs zone. Bjelica is averaging 11.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1 steal and 0.6 blocks attempting to bring the California organization back in the postseason for the first time since 2006.
Photo Credit: Getty Images