Damjan Rudez gave a glimpse of what he’s capable of Sunday night in Orlando.
Now the 6-10 rookie forward from Croatia needs to deliver such efforts off the bench on a more consistent basis instead of every now and then.
Rudez scored 16 of his career-high 18 points in the fourth quarter in the Indiana Pacers' road win over the Magic. He hit four 3-pointers. He drove to the basket and dunked. It was the kind of energy this team has especially needed of late— the victory snapped a seven-game losing streak.
But “Damo” has had just five double-digit efforts in 36 games. Some nights, the 3-point shooter misses. And therein lies the obvious observation about his brief flashes of potential. The Pacers need to see more of the scorer.
His length creates opportunities to take those long-range shots. And he showed against the Magic that when hot, he can hit 3-pointers with a defensive hand in his face.
Unfortunately, that didn’t carry over to the next game.
In Tuesday’s 104-91 home loss to Toronto, he finished with just five points, missing three of his four 3-point shots. He had two assists and one rebound, but also two turnovers.
Rudez is averaging 4.6 points per game. He’s hit a 3-pointer in 25 games, which explains why coach Frank Vogel keeps giving him minutes. Rudez ranks ninth among NBA rookies with 30 3-pointers made and sixth among rookies in 3-point shooting percentage at 32.6 percent.
Here’s what Rudez talked about after Tuesday’s loss.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.