INDIANAPOLIS — Bojan Bogdanovic’s first game back in Indianapolis started similarly to the 16 other games he played in a Jazz uniform: he scored.
On Utah’s first possession, Bogdanovic ran around a Rudy Gobert screen, got a pass from Mike Conley and buried a 3 from just above the break.
It was a perfect start. And later, Bogdanovic almost had the perfect quarter.
In the third, he scored 17 points on just eight shots. When he hit a transition 3 with 2:05 left in the period, he had done much of the work to cut what had been a 14-point lead down to just 3.
Here’s the problem: After that, he didn’t have another field goal attempt. Related: The Jazz also went on to lose 121-102.
He was 8 of 13 after that 3. He was 8 of 13 to finish the game.
The Jazz ended the third quarter with two Emmanuel Mudiay fadeaway midrange shots and a missed Jeff Green layup. (Bogdanovic also had a turnover when he threw the ball off the leg of a Pacer, but that very well could have been called a kickball).
That was part of a 6-0 run to the end the quarter and suddenly the Jazz were right back down by 9 — wasting a near-flawless quarter from the guy that had every reason to want to be special on Wednesday.
“It was just nice to see all those familiar faces against around the team, around the city,” Bogdanovic said following the game. “I spent two great years here that really helped me to establish my game. They helped me to show everybody what I’m capable of.”
Bogdanovic said that he felt that the Jazz were the perfect opportunity for him to keep showing that and even show more. In his flame-throwing third quarter, he did just that. An elite shooter with a great feel for the game and the moment.
The Jazz needed some help offensively (outside of Bogdanovic, Utah shot just 6 of 25 from 3-point range), and he stepped up to deliver.
Just like he has done since getting to Utah.
The Jazz knew he was good. They might not have known he was this good.
“I think being able to stay poised in all moments,” Donovan Mitchell said of what Bogdanovic brings to the team. “He's just a guy that's consistent, always continuing to stay poised and it just shows his veteran leadership and that's helped me a lot. I think he's a clutch player.”
It’s an easy route to second-guess decisions and wonder what would have happened if things went a little differently. But Mudiay’s decision to post up and take a fadeaway jumper with 14 seconds left on the shot clock on the possession immediately following Bogdanovic’s 3 to make it a one-possession game was pretty baffling — especially when he air-balled it.
Bogdanovic was feeling it. The Jazz were on a 13-2 run. Was a fadeaway post-up the best shot there?
“I think one of the reasons that (Bogdanovic) went on that run is because guys were finding him and that's something that's important for this group because it could be different guys at various times,” Quin Snyder said. “That goes into the end-of-quarter situation, too. Our guys are aware of that and want to find him, and we can do a better job of that.”
That one possession was far from the only reason the Jazz lost on Wednesday, but with how Bogdanovic was shooting at that moment, it seemed glaring.
Bogdanovic’s first game back to Indiana will end with a great stat line and a blowout loss. But in his spectacular third quarter, he showed why he wanted to come to the Jazz and why the Jazz wanted him.
“He’s a complete player,” Snyder said.