Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
OKLAHOMA CITY — There were numbers that Bojan Bogdanovic had never seen before — at least not since he was very young and definitely not at this level.
On Sunday in Utah's 116-103 win over Oklahoma City, Bogdanovic attempted 18 3-pointers and made 11 of them, setting a career-high and franchise record.
Gaudy numbers, no doubt, but there was another that he cared about more: six.
It's been six weeks since Bogdanovic was forced to wear a finger splint on his left ring finger in order to heal an avulsion fracture. He hated it. He constantly fiddled with it, he looked at it after missed shots and he even took it off and threw it to the sideline in disgust. It didn't matter that it was on his non-shooting hand, things just didn't feel right when it was on.
On Friday, he finally got to take it off. On Sunday, the Jazz saw the benefits.
The motion has returned to his hand, Bogdanovic said, but more importantly he no longer has to think about it.
"I'm better right here," Bogdanovic said, pointing to his head.
That helped lead to a historic performance Sunday night. The 11 3-pointers is tied for the seventh-most 3s in a single game; Bogdanovic's previous high was eight.
It wasn't just Bogdanovic, though. The Jazz overwhelmed the Thunder from 3-point range on Sunday, hitting 23 shots from long range. Oklahoma City, meanwhile, managed just eight. That's just a slight advantage of 45 points from the 3-point line. That alone is enough to win most — if not all — games. (In fact, it's slightly concerning the Jazz allowed the Thunder — who were missing eight players — to cut what was once a 22-point lead down to 8 in the closing minutes.)
The Jazz put up 52 3-point attempts on Sunday, 12 more than their season average. So how did they get up so many shots?
"That's how they play. They kind of shift from the corners, especially against us as we have one of the best rollers in the league," said Bogdanovic, who had 35 points.
Leaving the corners open against the Jazz is rarely a good thing. Donovan Mitchell finished with 10 assists, and Trent Forrest had six as the two guards broke the paint and kicked out to open shooters. In the end, it was pretty simple basketball.
"They do a great job of shifting and protecting the rim and that means we can kick it out, and we did," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "That's how we got 52 threes. There's gonna be games like that. We've gotta be willing to take them."
Mitchell took 11 of the 3-pointers, Jordan Clarkson took nine and even the famously passive shooter Royce O'Neale attempted seven.
"It really felt like the whole team was kind of coming to the paint, so you could kind of throw it anywhere and we'd have open 3s," Forrest said.
The main benefactor, of course, was Bogdanovic, who hung out in the corners and made the Thunder pay time and time and time again for leaving him open in the corner.
"Every single shot was — I think there was a good shot, no matter if I was hot or not," Bogdanovic said.
Sunday's game would be hard to replicate and not just because of the historic shot making of Bogdanovic. Against more seasoned defenses, those 3s would get taken away; and against longer teams, the passes would be much harder. On Sunday, though, the Jazz could keep going back to 3-point well, and it essentially saved them from an average performance.
On his 10th 3-pointer, Bogdanovic turned and fist-pumped. That shot ended a Thunder run that had cut Utah's lead to single digits with under three minutes left to play. After his 11th, he waved to the crowd, signaling they could all head on home.
Oh, and it showed everyone he no longer needs a splint. The six weeks is over.