By Antonis Stroggylakis / firstname.lastname@example.org
On Thursday 31/11 and two days after an “MVP of the Week” outing Vasilije Micic had possibly his worst game ever in EuroLeague.
Seven turnovers, 0/6 3-pointers and -4 in PIR. That’s what was written in the stats sheet of the game of Anadolu Efes vs. Panathinaikos next to Micic’s name. In a loss for the Turkish team.
Fast forward seven days later and the match vs. Olympiacos in Piraeus. Micic scores a career-high 27 points by shooting 5/6 3-pointers. He feeds his teammates with five assists. He also buries two rather important 3-pointers down the stretch with the score 61 – 68 and 63 – 73, to completely thwart a comeback attempt that the Reds had begun from 18 points down.
Efes wins the game. A victory that bore Micic’s signature all over it.
Micic has established himself as an elite EuroLeague guard since the previous season, his first with Efes. It’s more or less expected from a player of his caliber to react in a strong fashion after weak games. Was it just random that this emphatic bounce-back display by the Serbian guard came in the EuroLeague match that followed perhaps his poorest night in the competition? Or it meant something more?
“If you look at it like that, maybe. But, really, me? I don’t look at it that way,” Micic told Eurohoops. “I always look at it as if it’s another opportunity every day. If you have a bad day, you don’t need to take it so personally. It can happen to every person. There are bad days and bad moments. It’s always how fast you can recover from that.
“Today I felt good after the bad match I had against Panathinaikos. I took it like any other game,” Micic added. “Because I had also played very good before. And then also today. It was a good game but now, I’m turning my attention to the next one. That’s it.”
Following the defeat to Panathinaikos, Efes coach Ergin Ataman criticized Micic in a manner that could be described as harsh. He characterized his starting point guard’s numbers as “unacceptable” and his overall performance as “unprofessional.”
“This was something that was public,” Micic said to Eurohoops. “But I already said a couple of times that I have my own way, honestly. The way I came to this point in my career, it’s something I created on my own. It was important to me that he also gave me a good role on this team. It was also something I deserved it. It didn’t just come from God. I deserve it. He has his right to say whatever he said. I always keep myself on the track that I think it’s good for me.”
After the win over Olympiacos, Ataman gave his playmaker some praise. “He had a great game. His statistics were perfect,” the Turkish coach commented.
“I don’t think that it helped or made me worse,” Micic said on Ataman’s previous criticism. “I don’t really take it personally. I have my own way. This is something I really believe in. Even when he said good things, it’s something that’s already in the past from me. That’s my honest response.”