Pavlovic: 'I just play basketball'

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Pavlovic: 'I just play basketball'

BOSTON -- Sasha Pavlovic wears the same game face whether he has hit a big basket or bumbled a play down the stretch.

Cool, calm, collected.

So when he plays as well as he has been in recent games, his performances seem to sneak up on the opponent. Then Pavlovic goes about his business as though its not a big deal.

I just play basketball, he told CSNNE.com. I dont make faces. I dont think there is a reason for that. Im just like that.

Pavlovic entered Wednesdays game against the Atlanta Hawks averaging 5.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, while shooting 69.2 percent from the field and 77.8 percent from three-point range in his last five contests. More importantly, he has made an impact of defense.

One player who knows Pavlovics approach well is Atlanta Hawks forward Vladimir Radmanovic. The two first met playing on youth pro teams in Serbia over ten years ago.

Radmanovic has come to expect the type of performances that may surprise others.

Hes a defensive-minded player, Radmanovic said. Hes a guy who can lock somebody down, very physical. Nobody thinks he can really jump and then all of a sudden youll see him blocking somebody on the fast break. Obviously those of us coming from Europe are good shooters, so thats the thing that Sasha has as well.

Hes bigger than most of the guards and he can guard basically one through four. The speed that he has gives him the ability to guard smaller guys and his size and his strength lets him guard bigger guys.

Pavlovic made it a point to improve his defense when he entered the NBA in 2003. After playing for six teams, he has found is critical for sticking around.

If you want to play in this league, youve got to be able to play defense, Pavlovic replied matter-of-factly, never changing his expression. If you dont, youre going to play on the bench.

Once again, staying cool, calm, and collected.

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)