About Last Night

About Last Night: Bogdan's big one

Kings' draft luck pans out, Harden goes off (again), and Enes Kanter goes nose-to-nose with Giannis

Matt Petersen, NBA.com

It’s been rough sledding in general for the Kings, owners of the NBA’s longest current playoff drought. Their draft history hasn’t been much better, yielding just one All-Star (DeMarcus Cousins) out of 12 lottery picks since 2007 (not including Marvin Bagley).

Sacramento (19-16) finally appears to be righting its magnificently askew ship, and it’s recent turn in draft investment is the catalyst of their turnaround. De’Aaron Fox is blossoming far sooner than many predicted. Willie Cauley-Stein is holding his own as a starting big man. Bagley is already an efficient scorer off the bench.

Yet the Kings’ most shrewd Draft-day move may have been trading out of the lottery in 2016 for three less valuable picks and the rights to draft-and-stash prospect Bogdan Bogdanovic. When he came to the NBA last season, the former EuroLeague standout was already a professional veteran with game-winners, regular season and postseason awards under his belt.

That’s why the Kings didn’t hesitate to call Bogdanovic’s number when facing a two-point deficit to the LeBron-less Lakers in the closing seconds on Friday night.

Bogdanovic rewarded their confidence with a move he’d already executed multiple times overseas: dribble, step-back, nothing but net.

How should this rate on NBA.com’s Horry Scale?

A reminder on The Horry Scale: It breaks down a game-winning buzzer-beater in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety night in November?) and celebration. Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, named for the patron saint of last-second answered prayers.

DIFFICULTY: Sacramento ran some brilliant high off-ball screen action that ultimately forced Lakers big man Tyson Chandler to switch onto Bogdanovic. The former EuroLeague champ immediately settled into a rythmn dribble before stepping back and canning the fading 3-pointer. It was by no means an easy shot, but he couldn’t have asked for a better matchup.

GAME SITUATION: With 4.3 seconds remaining, Bogdanovic wasn’t completely pressed beyond his comfort zone. Zoom out, however, and this was a must-win for a plateauing Kings team set to face Portland, Denver and Golden State to start the new year.

CELEBRATION: Boganovic has always been a fiery competitor, and that personality was on fall display the second his shot went in. The Serbian swingman went into full-throated and defiant celebration mode before being mobbed by his teammates.

GRADE: Turning around a franchise’s collective mojo is no easy feat. The Kings are one of the season’s early feel-good stories, but even they need moments to fuel their internal belief. Bogdanovic gave them one they won’t forget for a while. Four Horrys.

Ice-cold brothers

It was that kind of night for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who combined for a frigid 17-for-45 shooting night — which doesn’t include their 2-for-7 performance from the free throw line.

We thought the Warriors hit their low when Thompson took an errant pass from Draymond Green right to the face.

That moment was later upstaged by the most unlikely of gaffes from Curry. With 17.1 seconds remaining in overtime, the two-time Kia MVP turned the ball over on an inbounds pass, leading to Damian Lillard’s latest edition of Dame Time — and the Blazers’ 110-109 win at Oakland.

How my nose taste?

Nothing is more frightening than two nearly 7-foot and extremely muscular human beings getting mad at one another and… angrily touching foreheads.

In all seriousness, kudos to officials and teammates for breaking up a tense moment in what was otherwise another solid win for the second-place Bucks.

Remember me?

Last year’s Kia Rookie of the Year race featured some no-so-subtle give and take between Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell. Though the two are no longer rookies, it was clear very early on Friday that each was especially fueled by the other.

Simmons left Salt Lake City with the 114-97 victory thanks in part to his triple-double of 13 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists. The former No. 1 overall pick is now 4-0 all-time against Mitchell (23 points, four rebounds, three steals), who has now shot above 40 percent in three consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 31.

Do you remember the time… ?

Fun story here about Damian Lillard balling with Steve Francis as a kid.

Leftover Links

  • James Harden so hot he’s melting December snow
  • Speaking of Houston, they’re now the hottest team in the West
  • Don’t miss out on the latest edition of Shaqtin’ A Fool

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