Bogdan Bogdanovic has been no stranger to clutch shots throughout his three seasons with the Sacramento Kings. His game-winning 3-pointer against the Lakers immediately comes to mind, as does the three to defeat the Thunder this season. Two years ago today, a rookie Bogdanovic was still building his legend.
About a month earlier in the 2017-18 season, Bogdanovic hit a three against the Bulls with less than a minute to go that proved to be the game-winner, but on this day, against the Memphis Grizzlies, the first-year guard had a little more pressure.
The final minute of this Kings-Grizzlies game was wild, with lead changes galore. First, Willie Cauley-Stein put Sacramento up two on a dunk off the feed from rookie Justin Jackson.
The Kings followed that up with a good defensive possession that forced Memphis to scramble. Unfortunately, the ball found Mario Chalmers at the end of the shot clock, and his wing 3-pointer gave the Grizzlies the lead back.
Sacramento responded in kind, as De’Aaron Fox calmly fed Jackson in the corner for a 3-pointer to put the Kings up two.
Memphis had 17 seconds left to tie the game or regain the lead. Once again, Sacramento played good defense, keeping the ball out of the paint and forcing the Grizzlies to take a long, contested three. Once again, they lucked out on a bad shot as Dillon Brooks, yet another rookie, found the bottom of the net. As a side note, the amount of big plays made by first-year players during this sequence was really impressive.
Bogdanovic, who had been guarding Dillon Brooks on the previous possession, got the ball on the inbounds at the top of the key, dribbled up to the elbow with journeyman MarShon Brooks on the contest, shook him, and nailed the fadeaway jumper to give the Kings a one-point advantage with 1.1 seconds left.
There was still time left for Memphis to get one last look, and given the way the previous 50 seconds had gone, it was almost expected. Instead, Bogdanovic finished the job by intercepting the inbounds pass and securing the win. A rough end to the game for MarShon Brooks, though not nearly the most embarrassing basketball-related thing that happened to him that year.
This was a relatively meaningless game for both teams, each long since eliminated from playoff contention. But you could see the fight in the young Kings, eager to make sure this was the last April for a long time that Sacramento would be playing inconsequential basketball. Bogdanovic and Fox had the Kings in the midst of a postseason chase this year, and they made a strong push at the 8-seed last year as well.
The foundation of all those big shots that Bogdanovic has made over the last two seasons, the ones that have kept this team in playoff contention, was built during his rookie year, when relatively meaningless games helped morph in the shooting guard into a feared sniper.