“It. Uh … it … it happened again.”
“It? It? It? No! No, Billy! What the f*** is it, it, it? There is no it! It is you! You happened again!”
– dialogue from White Men Can’t Jump
Until the 2013 Euroleague Final Four then, for which CSKA Moscow is already Fearlessly Predicted™ to appear, Milos Teodosic will be represented by the green dude at right. Yep, it happened again last night.
As though programmed lately to self-destruct at the sound of the fourth-quarter buzzer, Teodosic began the 31st minute with his first statistically-recorded bad pass of the final 10. To his credit, Good Milos was briefly seen in the 34th and 35th, with proper awareness on defense to net him a pair of rebounds that led to two time-killing Team Serbia possessions and reduction of Montenegro’s lead to just three at 59-56 – capped by Dusko Savanovic’s jumper with the assist by Teodosic.
Maybe it was the substitutions, then, but before you could say “Hulk smash,” Bad Milos had thrown the ball away twice more for a final quarter stat line of 1-of-2 shooting, two rebounds, one assist and three TOs in under eight minutes. In total, Teodosic’s cumulative stats through seven EuroBasket qualifiers are as follows.
• In four wins, all pretty decisive: 18-of-34 overall shooting, good for an even 13.0 points per game; 21 assists; 12 rebounds; eight TOs.
• First three quarters in three losses: 13-of-28 overall shooting; 13 assists; seven rebounds; five TOs.
• Fourth quarter in three losses: 2-of-7 overall shooting; two assists; two rebounds; *eight* TOs.
Granted, this is still way too small a sample size – even if the Euroleague championship game implosion is factored in – to pass judgment on one of The Continent’s best and most exciting players. Nevertheless, it appears as though Teodosic is mired in a big-game fourth quarter slump. And with that added emphasis on the point guard playmaker in international tournaments such as this, Bad Milos has the potential to wreak havoc on his own team.
The question now is whether the Hulk will bring down the house around Team Serbia. With three games remaining, the Serbian schedule consists of games vs. Estonia, at Slovakia and vs. Israel. Surely all these are winnable and a 7-3 mark would seem likely to earn Serbia qualification for the ’13 games … right?
In the meantime, keep Teodosic nice and calm…