Israel's First NBA Star Casspi Scores Career High

Casspi nets 31 points in Kings victory bringing pride to Israelis, as his teammate becomes first Indian to play in an NBA game.

Ari Yashar ,

Omri Casspi
Omri Casspi
Moshe Shai/Flash 90

Israel's first NBA star, Omri Casspi, logged a career high on Tuesday night, sinking in 31 points and leading the Sacramento Kings to victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-111.

Casspi, the 6'9" forward who made Israeli sports history in 2009 by being drafted to the NBA from Maccabi Tel Aviv, shot a steady 12 of 20 from the field, and was impressive from three-point range, landing four of six shots beyond the arc.

His career-high scores were boosted by a 16-point scoring offensive in an explosive third quarter performance. Casspi rounded out his game with five rebounds, one steal and one assist.

"I'm happy we won the game more than anything," Casspi said. "I got in a good rhythm and I wasn't forcing shots. It felt good."

The Israeli star had been forced to take time off the hardwood earlier in the season after suffering a left knee injury, but since coach George Karl took the helm during the All-Star Break, he's been a regular in the starting line-up and has averaged 15.3 points in the last five games.

"I enjoyed the offense after the first quarter," Karl said. "We had good ball movement and Omri got hot in the third quarter and made some big threes for us."

Casspi's strong performance was aided by his teammate Rudy Gay, who netted 33 points, seven rebounds and five assists. It was Gay's first game back in the lineup after suffering a concussion last week.

Israelis weren't the only ones who could feel proud about Tuesday's game though - they were joined by Indians.

Sim Bhullar became the first Indian to play in an NBA game on Tuesday, as the 7'5" center took the court for the last 16.1 seconds of the game.

"I told him to enjoy the ride," Casspi said. "You got two billion Indians looking up to you. Be the best role model you can be and have fun with it."