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3x3 powerhouse Novi Sad’s worst World Tour defeats
MIES (Switzerland) - 3x3 kings Novi Sad don't lose often but here are their 10 worst defeats on the World Tour.
In 3x3, Novi Sad are in the midst of a dynasty with the spectacular Serbs winning the World Tour title four times, including most memorably in 2018 when they destroyed the field en route to a jaw-dropping 32-0 season.
Their record is ridiculous but they of course haven't been perfect with 16 teams beating them since the start of 2013.
We had to dig deep but here are Novi Sad's top 10 worst losses on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour - just to show they are somewhat human.
Firstly, here are the 16 teams to have beaten Novi Sad since 2013: Caracas, Ljubljana, Ostrava, St Petersburg, Denver, Doha, Paris, Hamamatsu, Zemun, Piran, Riga Ghetto, Liman, Lausanne, Edmonton, Sakiai Gulbele, Princeton.
10) World Tour Istanbul Final 2013 (Final) v Ljubljana (13-19)
Novi Sad were completely outplayed by Slovenian side Ljubljana in their first year on the pro circuit. The Serbs were overly reliant on Dusan Bulut aka Mr Bulutproof who was foolproof with a game-high 10 points but he badly lacked support in the 2013 decider in Istanbul without Marko Savic and before Dejan Majstorovic's addition to the team.
9) World Tour Nanjing Masters 2019 (Quarter-Final) v Riga Ghetto (15-21)
Novi Sad struggled – by their mighty standards – in the backend of last season. Some questioned whether they had lost their hunger – or just lost it entirely. Of course, this was to prove foolish by season's end but in Nanjing there was reason to feel dubious about Novi Sad.
Novi Sad were eliminated in the quarters by a Karlis Lasmanis-less Riga Ghetto, who were starting to get the better of 3x3's kings. The Serbs wasted a vintage Dusan Bulut performance (10 points) but he lacked support as Novi Sad's chemistry looked awry.
8) World Tour Beijing Masters 2015 (Semi-Final) v Doha (15-21)
There aren't many times when Novi Sad get punked but Sammy Monroe played one of the great individual performances against the Serbs. The high-flying Monroe scored a game-high 12 points to completely dominate inside and hand Novi Sad a comprehensive defeat.
7) World Tour Chengdu Masters 2017 (Quarter-Final) v Riga Ghetto (13-19)
Novi Sad were looking to become the first team to win 4 World Tour Masters in the same season, but were spectacularly stopped by young stars Riga Ghetto, whose athleticism caused the world No.1 all sorts of problems.
The victory gave the Latvians a bucketload of confidence and kick-started a fierce rivalry between two of 3x3's titans.
6) World Tour Doha Masters 2019 (Semi-Final) v Liman (17-20)
Novi Sad came into this game with more Ws than the World Wide Web. But their 34-game winning streak was snapped by their rivals Liman. It was a result made even more surprising with Liman being without their best player Stefan Stojacic.
5)World Tour Prague Masters 2016 (Semi-Final) v Ljubljana (12-22)
You want another stat to underline Novi Sad's greatness? They have only lost 7 games by 5 or more points. Amazing consistency!
In terms of margin, this is Novi Sad's worst defeat – a 10-point thrashing against Ljubljana. They only hit 1 two-pointer for the game compared to Ljubljana's 5 and were outplayed in all areas.
This is the only time on the World Tour that Novi Sad has recorded a double digit defeat.
4) World Tour Utsunomiya Final 2019 (pool stage) v Princeton (10-19)
This was their second worst defeat - a 19-10 beatdown by Princeton during the pool stage of the Utsunomiya Final. They just couldn't get it going – it's their lowest scoring total - and looked more sluggish than your little brother's bedroom.
It was such an embarrassing defeat that it appeared Novi Sad's reign at the top was over.
Another reason why Novi Sad are so great? After such a humiliating loss they bounced back in the knockout stages and got their revenge against Princeton in the final with a thrilling 21-17 victory.
3) World Tour Abu-Dhabi Final 2016 (Semi-Final) v Hamamatsu (14-21)
This is one of the great upsets in World Tour history. No.1 Novi Sad were stunned by No.11 Hamamatsu from India in a one-sided contest in Abu Dhabi.
They struggled badly on O making just 1 two-piece and on D could not stop Bikramjit Gill aka the 'Bearded King', who scored a game-high 10 points.
2) World Tour Debrecen Masters 2017 (Semi-Final) v Liman (17-18)
This one hurts for Novi Sad. How did Aleksandar Ratkov hit the impossible circus shot to win the game? It capped one of the greatest 3x3 games ever played and triggered an insane rivalry that has dominated much of the last few seasons.
But, amazingly, this wasn’t even their biggest heartbreaker.
1) World Tour Beijing Final 2017 (Final) v Zemun (17-19)
This is the most heartbreaking defeat imaginable – certainly the craziest ending of all time. World No.1 Novi Sad entered the season's finale as hot favorites against their compatriots after dominating the regular season and annihilating rivals Liman and Piran in previous rounds
Zemun gamely hung tough with the game tied at 17 in the dying seconds. Still, even at the death, no one quite believed Novi Sad would actually lose the unlosable. That was until Bogdan Dragovic breathed fire with an off-balance two-pointer from the 3x3 logo to clinch Zemun's first title and break Novi Sad's hearts.
"I DON’T BELIEVE IT" – was Kyle Montgomery's epic commentary and even to this day we still can't believe it.
Novi Sad brooded all off-season and came out with a vengeance like James Bond in Quantum of Solace to ensure a 2018 season for the ages.