It was his love for basketball that eventually pried Milos Teodosic away from a successful career in Europe to play for the Clippers against the best in the world.
Sixty games into his maiden NBA voyage has not changed Teodosic's passion for the game even as a 30-year-old rookie.
The Clippers signed the Serbian point guard to a two-year, $12.3-million contract last summer, hoping Teodosic could provide some excitement after trading point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets.
"So far, I really enjoy," Teodosic said. "I'm happy to be here and I really enjoy playing with the best players in the world and against the best players in the world. I'm happy that I'm here."
Teodosic never played more than 48 games in a season in Europe. He has played in just 31 of 60 games this season for the Clippers because of injuries.
"I was expecting much faster and much physical game here," Teodosic said of the NBA play compared to Europe. "So it's not nothing that I didn't expect. I expected this from the best players in the world."
Teodosic primarily has been a starter over his career. He has started in 27 of the 31 games this season, saying his role is not an issue. He's still averaging 9.4 points and 5.0 assists.
"We have a lot of injured players," Teodosic said. "So I don't have a problem with not starting because I used to in Europe two games start, five games I come from the bench. For me this is not big thing. For me it doesn't matter who is going to start. It's important who is going to finish game."
The most exciting thing for Teodosic is that the Clippers are in the hunt for a playoff spot. They are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings, a half-game behind the Denver Nuggets for the final playoff berth.
"We have tough schedule, but I'm pretty sure that this team can get to the playoffs," Teodosic said. "It's going to be tough. But we're not going to give up. We're going to fight to get in."
VS NEW YORK
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
On the air: TV — Prime Ticket; Radio — 570, 1330.
Update: Tobias Harris is averaging a career-high in points (18.2) and three-point shooting (41.1%) for the Clippers. The Knicks are 1-9 in their last 10 games.