The Los Angeles Clippers defeated Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks 126-111 in the first round of the playoffs last night. All participants in the conference semi-finals are now known.
Among them, after Ivica Zubac joined Bojan Bogdanovic and Darijo Saric, Croatian basketball players will appear for the first time in history.
The irony is that for the first time in a season that runs counter to the interests of the national team, so many Croatian players have entered the playoffs more deeply, and the national team started participating in the Olympics in Split on June 29. Qualifiers. One of the three of them, maybe two, will make it to the Western Conference finals, so they will definitely fall off Veljko Mršić’s list.
Bogdanovic’s Utah team is playing against Zupuche’s Clippers, which means that the champion of the series will definitely miss the Split game. In the second semifinal of the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns and Dario Saric were favorites against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
These series may be delayed until June 20, when the seventh game may be held, which means that even losers will only have 9 days to talk to the media and clubs and transfer everything they need to another. Continental, then either take some time to take a few days off from the busy season, join a team that most teammates don’t know about, in the last minute before the game, or participate in the final preparations “from the plane”.
The national team has already lost Luca Samanic, Dragan Bender and Krona Simon due to injuries, but at least Mario Herzona will play again. He may eventually become our biggest player in the battle for Tokyo. hope.
This summer was a very wrong moment for Bogdanovic, Saric and Zubac. They wrote the history of Croatian basketball and became the first three of us to enter the second round of the NBA playoffs. .
Croatia had a record six players in the NBA last season, but never exceeded three in the playoffs. This season, the San Antonio Spurs may not be trapped in the playoffs, but Samanic will not participate in the game due to injuries in any case.
In the “opening up” era, Croatia had three players entering the NBA playoffs for the first time. In 1995, Tony Kukoc of the Chicago Bulls, Dinolaka of the Boston Celtics and Tabak of the Houston Rockets all participated. The game. Boston was eliminated in the first round, the Bulls despite Jordan’s return in the second round, and Tabak won the ring as a temporary substitute for Hakim Olajuwon.
Three years ago, Ante Zizic entered the finals with Cleveland in a similar role in his rookie season, and in the first round with Bojan Bogdanovic eliminated the tough Indiana in seven games. Dario Saric passed the Philadelphia team in the first round, but was eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Last season, Zubac was eliminated by the Clippers in the second round. Mario Herzonia was eliminated by Portland in the first round. Utah did not have Bogdanovic because of joint surgery.
This means that Croatia may have two players in the conference semifinals for the first time. If Phoenix surpasses Denver, there will definitely be a finalist.
Drazen Petrovic was the first Croat in the 1990 NBA Finals when he was a bench player for the Portland Trail Blazers. Tony Kukoc won three championship titles with the Chicago Bulls (1996-1998), and Jean Tabak won one title in Houston in 1995. Five years later, he played a similar role with the Indiana team. Into the finals. After him, only Ante Žižić and the 2018 Cleveland team players can enter the NBA Finals.