Bojan Bogdanovic was on fire on against the Philadelphia 76ers. Coming into Tuesday, his career-high was 28 points. Leaving Tuesday night, he shattered that with a 44-point outburst. Yes...44 points.
Not only is Bogdanovic's 44 points a career-high, as well as the most points by a Nets player ever at Barclays Center-- beating out Deron Williams 42-point outing in 2013 against the Wizards -- but that number also happens to be the career-high of his boyhood idol, Drazen Petrovic.
On January 24, 1993, Petrovic scored 44 points against the Houston Rockets, which ultimately ended up being his career best. He died in an car accident on the German Autobahn six months later.
After Tuesday night's game, Bogdanovic didn't know at the time that he tied Petrovic's record, but when he found out he was honored. "I didn't honestly know that Drazen scored 44, so I was surprised...I thought he scored even more, so I am really proud to tie his record," Bogdanovic said.
What a great night and honor to tie career high with idol of many Drazen Petrovic...#44 pic.twitter.com/tVnzMeeAtv— Bojan Bogdanovic (@44Bojan) March 16, 2016
In Croatia, Bogie's big night was a big deal with the country's top sports site posting videos of his post-game interview with Sarah Kustok and game highlights. Although the country's best player, his and Team Croatia's subpar performance in Eurobasket last summer had soured many fans. This was a bit of a renewal.
And a fan posted video of Petrovic's final three points in that 1993 contest.
Bogdanovic has been inconsistent this season with the Nets as well. He's only had four games of 20 points or more in 66 games played. On Tuesday night, he was consistently efficient throughout the game. In fact, he started off the game 9-for-9 from the field and he finished 17-for-27.
He tortured Philly's defense from all over the floor. He made four three pointers, and six free-throws, which meant 18 of his points were from the three-point line and the charity stripe, while the other 26 points were from two-point range. Bogdanovic made his mark in the low-post, attacking the basket and from mid-range, after the defense opened up, trying to limit his three-point shooting.
Bogdanovic didn't play in Brooklyn's last meeting against Philly, and 76ers coach Brett Brown didn't miss him. "He's a big wing who can shoot," Brown said. "I'm happy he didn't play against us the last time we played against them."
Bogdanovic had a legitimate shot to reach 50 points late in the fourth quarter, but despite not reaching 50, it was still a historic night. He joined Vince Carter, Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson and Bernard King as the only Nets to score at least 44 points and grab at least 8 rebounds in an NBA game.
In case you missed it, Here's the highlights from Bogdanovic's historic night.
Most young basketball players in Croatia idolize Drazen Petrovic, and Bogdanovic publicly mentions his respect and appreciation for Petrovic. On Instagram page last night, shortly after his performance, he talked about how much of an honor it was to tie Petrovic's record. "What a great night and honor to tie career high with idol of many Drazen Petrovic," Bogdanovic wrote.
Fittingly, the number on his jersey, 44, will mean more to Bogdanovic than just a jersey number. It's his new career best, and a way to link him to the player that he grew up idolizing.
- Bojan Bogdanovic (44 points) 'proud' to match Drazen Petrovic's record - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN