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.