Timofey Mozgov has blogged at Sports.ru after the regular season finale where he got to play after the long wait.
Here’s my quick translation of his post in its entirety – up to the last smiley.
Hi! I’ve got something for you that can serve as a small reason for joy. Today – a new blog post and yesterday with an actual play during the game between Denver and Suns. Now I have a second double-double of my career overseas – 10 + 10 in 20 minutes. And it feels good, of course, I will not lie to you))
But I’ll tell you this right away: this is just stats, and I am not going to jump with happiness. I think it’s clear. This is just one game (and not the most important for us) and in fact it was just my second real chance this season. I’ve said it many times that I know what I’m capable of and I’m hungry for the game action. And, as you should agree, double-doubles are so frequent in this league.
So that was another reason why I didn’t even want to blog today. Didn’t want it to look like Tima, who used to be silent, got happy now and when the slightest opportunity presented itself, right after taking the shower, ran to grab his tablet and started to boast about it:)) Well I didn’t do anything outstanding today! And it’s unlikely to change the overall situation too…
So I wanted to wait a little bit – when the first round ends, for example. Or to blog about the season in general. But my team insisted on it. Guys told me that I already had enough reasons to make my readers happy. And there will always be enough time in future to sum up the season. So if you are happy to be reading this, then you should thank the guys as well:)))
The morning before the game Javale didn’t feel very well – he was suffering from stomach pain. But in the end he played despite it. Kosta played too. Almost his regular minutes. So where did my almost two entire periods of playing time come from – only coach knows that.
As it normally happens, nobody told me anything beforehand. The coach just picked me up from the bench in the second quarter, and that’s it. There was no personal assignment either. All in all, I think I did alright in the end. Other than my field goal percentage which could be better, and that I injured my finger.
It’s the thumb, on my left hand. This means, not the shooting one. Luckily. There was some commotion and something happened there when I battled with Haddadi. I can’t even recall what exactly. Even more so because I didn’t feel any strong pain. Maybe it happened because of game emotions, but I kept on running around right until the siren.
It was only in the locker that I saw how swollen my finger was and felt a strong discomfort. Doctors did an X-ray. It turned out it was a fracture. Not exactly a complex and scary one. In this little special cast here I can keep on practicing and of course I am ready to play. During the breaks in gym work I’ll be taking medicine and going through procedures.
In general, I want to say, we had a really good season. It was steady, on the same good level throughout. We have polished our playing style as a team, many among us got the extra experience, somebody has found their place and role on the team, and here is the result. Which is even unique in some way. For example, a 23-game winning streak at home!
Right now we start to get ready for the playoffs. I’m sure it’s going to be interesting:))
And it’s going to be not less interesting during the offseason.
The media are writing about it, you are discussing it and I am asked to comment on the information that Denver can make a qualifying offer to me. What can I say about it? If they are writing it, then, maybe, it may really happen. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. Especially since it wouldn’t be like they are going out of their way if they did this. I think the reasons for this are clear.
So, if the offer comes, nobody (me and my agents for sure) will be surprised. But looking at the big picture, no matter if it happens or not, my future will be set after July 1. This is the date after which I will be able to receive offers from any club in the NBA. This is when we are going to see the full picture. During that period we are going to decide what we should do.
As always, here’s a bit of something unrelated to basketball.
I’m tired of the winter!:)) I don’t like it too much as it is. And here – just look at this: it’s April outside, and we still have this going on behind the window.
It’s great that the parents came for a visit for a couple weeks. Mom and dad got to see Lyokha who has grown up a bit, we went to the Colorado mountains, showed them the Red Rocks. So both they and we got recharged with positive energy.
Oh, and at last I got to see a hockey game in Colorado. I used to go to SKA games in Saint Petersburg, then in New York, and now here. If not for my dad, I don’t know how long it would take. And here it all coincided – the practice was in the morning, game in the evening and dad who really wanted to go there.
Our team lost. Maybe because Semyon was injured. Though they are clearly not the strongest team in the league right now. But anyway, my dad was really happy, and I liked a lot too.
That’s all for now! Let’s wait for the playoffs to tip off! See you again!:))
After the trade deadline has passed without any news, Timofey Mozgov was interviewed via phone by the Sport-Express journalist Alexey Bezyazychnyi.
Here goes my quick translation of the whole thing (minus the questions about the national team).
- Of course I badly want to play. From this perspective, a trade was supposed to happen. It would be good both for me and the club, because my contract expires in summer, which means I will be able to leave Denver without any compensation. I don’t know what was on our management’s mind when they decided not to trade me. But if it happened, it means that there were some major reasons for that. NBA is a serious business, where nothing is being done without a reason. I hope I will get an opportunity to show what I can do this season. Otherwise, why keep me on the team?
- It was reported that Miami and Minnesota have contacted the Nuggets about you. Did it really happen?
- Yes, my agent told me about it. And I would go to Miami or Minneapolis gladly. On one condition only – that they would let me play. That the Heat are the main title contender this season didn’t matter to me at all. I am not going to sit on the bench even for a champion’s ring. To me, playing time is more important right now than any team results.
- In terms of team results Denver is doing well: the team is among the playoff eight and is battling for the home court advantage.
- We are really playing well. And to some extent it’s a reason for optimism, because exactly during the playoffs last season George Karl has put me into the starting lineup, even though during the regular season he played me almost as little as he does now. What if history repeats itself? You can expect anything from Karl, as I have already learned multiple times. So I try not to get disappointed because of coaching decisions. If it depended on me, then it would be another thing. Then it would make sense to analyze what I am doing wrong. But in my case, there’s no such correlation. I have to just work and wait.
- How did you spend the All-Star Weekend, during which you could have been traded?
- I didn’t watch the broadcasts from Houston, not even the Rookie game where Lyosha Shved played. My wife has dreamt to visit Los Angeles for a long time, so we used these few days to fill this gap. We spent a great vacation, visited Beverley Hills, met the family of Yaroslav Korolev that lives in California. I should admit that I liked it in Los Angeles.
- Would you be glad if you learned that you don’t have to leave Los Angeles, because you have been traded from Denver to the Lakers?
- (Pauses to think about it). It’s hard to say. To sit on the bench behind the backs of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol just because this is a great club and Los Angeles is a nice city – I don’t want it. If I was 35 years old, maybe I would think differently. But I am only 26, and I want to play.
- If Denver doesn’t provide this opportunity until the end of the season, will you stay in the NBA or move to Europe as a free agent in summer?
- You can’t rule out anything. But right now my priority is the NBA. According to my agent, there are two or three clubs in this league that are willing to sign me during offseason. We will consider everything and make a decision.
- What’s left is to just wish you to adjust to the demands of George Karl eventually.
- Thank you. I can’t wait myself for the moment he remembers that I’m there. Especially since the season looks promising for the Nuggets. Last season when we pushed the first-round series to seven games, it was perceived as sensation. Now, even if we make it to the Conference Finals, nobody will be surprised.
Too bad that Moz doesn’t get any minutes lately. It is hard for him, because he is a rare super-tall player who wasn’t just pushed into playing basketball, but actually loves to play. We’ll see what the free agency brings him an opportunity to get some playing time, well deserved on effort alone.
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Here is my translation of the entire statement by Andrei Kirilenko regarding his retirement from the Russian national team. He presented it as a monologue via phone, talking to the Sport-Express journalist Pavel Osipov.
Recently I had a long talk with the president of Russian basketball federation Alexander Krasnenkov. I have stated my own position to him in detail and said that I consider retirement from the national team.
The reason is not fatigue. I have thought about it a lot and took advice from a great number of people, mostly relatives and close friends. Many of them don’t object that I continue to play, but… The intense NBA season makes one spend a lot of time away from the family. It takes up all your time for six and a half months at least. I want to be the best dad that I can and take great part in their lives. I want to see them growing up – not limiting myself to just telling them a tale before they go to bed, when I come back home at 10 or 11 and they are not sleeping, waiting for me.
I am not ready to spend my entire summer with the national team and not with my family. If there was a way to do both, I would definitely do it. Yes, we managed to find a compromise before. Sometimes my wife and kids joined me in training camp. But I can’t and shouldn’t drag them along with me. They have their own schedule which I need to adjust to.
I would hate to keep everyone waiting for a long time. It was important to make up my mind and let everyone know about my decision soon – the coaches, teammates and fans. You know that it would happen anyway, sooner or later. Especially now that time has come for the new leaders – Shved, Karasev and others. And the current veterans – Khryapa, Monia and Fridzon – aren’t done yet.
Krasnenkov asked me about one thing: not to give my final word. Originally I wanted to make my plans for the entire Olympic cycle, right up to Rio de Janeiro. But the president and I decided to make a decision only regarding the upcoming Eurobasket and to return to the talks about the national team after a year or two. Maybe then I will once again feel the need for emotions which I am saying no to right now?
As for now, I am doing what I think is necessary. Personally I feel that I gave the national team all I could. And it’s time to pass my power and my responsibility to others. I know that someone will agree with that and someone will criticize me. But, in my opinion, the time has come. Even though I can play at the highest level for another three or four years…
It was always a great pleasure to join the national team. But at the same time I understood that you can’t give a half-hearted effort. If you show up at the training camp, you should take pains just like everybody else. Those 12 years that I spent on the national team gave a lot to me as a person and as a basketball player. We won medals at big international tournaments and those wins will stay in memory forever.
I am grateful to the national team for everything, for all the positive and negative moments. To all the guys that I was lucky to play with. Starting with the veterans who accepted me, a 17-year old, and to the current youth to which I am a veteran myself. And definitely, thank you to all the fans, especially those who were with us in Madrid during the 2007 Eurobasket which we won and in London during the Olympics.
Believe me, this decision didn’t come easy, but for the comfort of my kids I have to sacrifice something. And even if I will never play another game for the national team, I am not saying farewell to it. In any case I will be taking part and helping in some way. But to give it all my free time to an extent that I used to, unfortunately, I can’t.
I say great job by the federation president – nobody really needed that decision, as Kirilenko will be a welcome addition to the team whenever he ever has the opportunity. Retiring officially would make it somehow harder for Kirilenko to come back if he wants to, even though Dirk Nowitzki did come out of retirement with Team Germany.
At the same time, it would be insane to demand something from a player who has already sacrificed 9 of his 12 offseasons.
So we’ll keep the teary moments until the official retirement, and let’s wish Kirilenko manages to add an NBA title to his huge collection, and spends quality time with his family.
Alexey Shved talks braces, beer, missing his hair, Iverson as genius, and wearing his pajamas to practice
Here’s my traslation of Alexey Shved’s recent interview at Sports.ru:
- Don’t you get bored here, having moved from Moscow? Minneapolis is such a quiet city.
- Actually, I already got used to everything. I feel comfortable, I like it here… I had my good share of fun in the past, so I can be leading a quiet life now. Of course I knew that people like basketball here, but I couldn’t imagine to what extent… It’s even hard to explain, how good it feels to be playing here. Fans would approach you, ask for a photo, they talk in a nice manner. Here, there are no people who would annoy you and ask some nonsense questions. Everyone is good and nice.
- Are there any rituals for welcoming the rookies?
- It depends on a team. We don’t have such a ritual. They only gave me a pink rucksack; it’s lying in my car. Some of the guys had toy baby strollers next to their lockers. All in all, we have a young team. Kirya is the main veteran. So everyone makes jokes on everyone and there’s no rookie hazing. Once, I went to the practice wearing my pajamas. I was warm outside; I just put on my pajama pants and went to the gym. Everybody was laughing and saying it was cool.
- How’s your English?
- Well, I started learning it while in school. I didn’t take any lessons here. I just talk, and also ask Andrei about some of the words that I don’t know. My brother came here, he gives me tips too. I can already watch movies. I don’t know yet how to say everything I want, but I understand almost everything and people are starting to understand me too.
- Did you get a nickname in the States?
- They call me Alexy*, we’ve taught some of the Americans how to pronounce Aleshka. They also call me Slim, like Slim Shady.
- You are a fan of The Simpsons and of Homer Simpson in particular. What in America made you recall some of the scenes from the cartoon?
- Well, that everybody loves donuts here, and I eat them too. People mostly drink beer and not stronger drinks, exactly like in The Simpsons.
- Why did you decide to cut your hair only in America, even though in CSKA you ignored whenever someone even hinted about it?
- I wanted to change something. And now I already miss my hair. I don’t care what people on the outside advice me to do. I only listen to my relatives and those who are close, and they would always explain it to me about what I should do. If I want it, I will grow my hair again. It doesn’t make me play worse.
- Who is visiting you in Minneapolis?
- Right now everybody has already left. But there were: parents, sisters and their husbands, one of the nephews, the youngest one. We have a big house, so everybody fit in. My mom came and made a lot of pelmeni. Now we ran out of them, so my girlfriend will be making it. She is cooking all the time, and does it very well. Russian cuisine, Italian, Spanish… Anything!
- Are there any restrictions set by the club concerning food and alcohol?
- Nothing special. If you want to drink some beer, nobody will be against it. What’s important is to know your measure and to do well in practice.
- What if one comes to practice when hung over?
- Such thing didn’t happen yet.
- Do you do everything the right way while driving too?
- I was taking a test here to get an American driving license. I didn’t pass it on the first try, because it’s really strict. If you forget to use the turn light – that’s it, you failed the test. Probably I got used to driving here by now. They don’t stop you here unless you violate the driving rules, and I was never pulled over. If I go to Moscow now, I’ll be in a state of shock for the first few days.
- What’s your favorite car?
- BMW X5 and X6. I have bought an X5 here right when I arrived. It’s really cool to drive here, with no traffic jams. It takes me five minutes to drive to the gym. If told to be there at 12-30, I leave the house at 12-20 and I’m never late.
- You are working under the great coach Rick Adelman now. What is your biggest impression?
- He is a very calm person. He will not shout at you, but instead will explain everything calmly, you will understand and you will want it yourself to make everything right the next time. He trusts completely, and it concerns not only me, but many other players too.
- Do you have any kind of field goal attempt limit set by the coach?
- It works differently here: you miss, but everyone will tell you, “Shoot it!” If you are open – shoot it. And you shouldn’t think that you have missed five times before that – you can take another five shots.
- How do the local journalists treat you?
- In the NBA, even if you didn’t do something right, people would try to support you – both the journalists and the fans. Nobody has ever said anything bad to me, even after an off game.
- Are you going to protect your foot after the ankle sprain?
- I will be taping it for the remainder of the season, and then stop, because I can’t play like this – I need my foot to feel free, and it is impossible when wearing high shoes and a tape.
- You wear braces – did you make a special mouthpiece because of it?
- I don’t wear a mouthpiece at all. Three times in my career I took a very strong shot in the teeth, but I can’t wear a mouthpiece – it makes it difficult to breathe. And I’m taking my brackets off in three months. After the three years that I’ve been wearing it, I just can’t wait.
- You said that your idol was Allen Iverson, an anti-basketball player as a lot of people think, one who would only play for himself. Did your taste change with age or not?
- Allen Iverson is a genius. Yes, he didn’t get his ring, but he was able to outplay the entire opponent’s team. I think he is the most skilled NBA player of all time.
- How do rank yourself in the league? Well, at least among the rookies?
- I think that I play not worse than the people who were drafted this year. And then, I’m older – I’m not 20 but 24 already.
- What do you need to improve to have a successful NBA career?
- Everything! I will work on my physical condition and on skills too. So that just no one could steal the ball from me.
Since Shved brought it up himself, his first name sounds more like like “alec-SAY” than “a-LE-xy” as he’s normally called now in America. Listen:
A few days ago Alexey Shved was interviewed by Anton Solomin for Championat.com.
Here’s my translation:
- It looks like you are immune to the magic of Madison Square Garden, which would normally put pressure on the Knicks’ opponents.
- Nothing really put any pressure on me. But the fans there impressed – they are very loud, and many celebrities go to games too. The city itself resembles Moscow. Lots of lights, same traffic jams… They were even there on Sunday when we played the Knicks.…
- Does Rick Adelman instruct you personally during practices, considering that you are the only rookie on the team?
- Well, he talks to everyone. Actually, our coaching staff is really big and everybody gives some pieces of advice. I try to follow everything they say, because they wouldn’t recommend anything bad. It’s important that there are many former NBA players among the coaches and they know perfectly what they are talking about.
- And your sports boldness which shows itself during last seconds of the games – did you get it from them?
- Well, I’ve always been bold. Maybe that is the reason why there were some people who didn’t want me to play. (laughs). Why should I always do something for the others? Of course, you need to listen to your coach when he explains something during a timeout. But at the same time you need to feel the moment when you need to take initiative. Because there are moments which you cannot predict and draw on a tablet. So, sometimes you have to take the lead. Of course you can make the shot or you can miss. But if you don’t take the risk then you will just make some little passes for the rest of your career.
Later Shved took the decisive shot at the buzzer against the Houston Rockets and missed.
- By the way, you are doing great when it comes to assists. Recently you had your first NBA double-double of 12 points and 12 assists, and just three rebounds short of a triple-double. Didn’t teammates ask for a celebration?
- No, it’s not Russia where you have a double-double and, let’s go party! (laughs).
- Are you going to celebrate Christmas with the rest of America?
- Actually the Christmas spirit is really felt here during the last few days. It’s really nice, the whole city is lit up, and there are many Christmas trees and Santas in the streets… But for me the New Year still remains the main holiday, so we will celebrate that.
- It’s good that game schedule makes it possible to see the New Year in at midnight at home with your family. But you have a road game on January 2nd in Salt Lake City, so you need to travel. Will there be enough time for a good sleep?
- The lifestyle here is calmer than in Moscow. The restaurants close at 11 or 12 PM, the night clubs – no later that at 2 AM. So in any case you are able to wake up at 11 fully rested. In general, after living in Russian capital, I really like Minneapolis. It’s small and cozy and there is almost no traffic jams. Of course, you can have a lot of fun in Moscow, but the city is too big.
- Does it mean that if you could choose between Minnesota and New York, you would still pick your current team, taking the city into consideration too?
- What was the most memorable New Year celebration that you had?
- It was two or three years ago. We just fell asleep at 1 AM – how do you like that for a celebration? We had plans to go out and our friends have been waiting for us… And I don’t really understand how it happened, but we just came back home and passed out. We woke up at 10 AM, looked at each other and said, “Yeah, it was so much fun”.
- What was the best present that you remember?
- We have a tradition to prepare a lot of New Year gifts. To our parents, relatives, my girlfriend’s parents… Respectively, they give a lot of presents to us. Each year it’s such a pile of presents that it’s hard to pick out just one thing. But in general, the most important thing for me is not the price but how useful the thing is. For example, my girlfriend can give, say, a pair of grey pants which I didn’t have, and to me it’s better than any most expensive present.
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Here’s my translation of part of Andrei Kirilenko’s recent interview with Pavel Osipov of Sport-Express.
- Are the games against LeBron special for you?
- They are different. After all, it doesn’t happen every day that you get to face the best basketball player in the world. So each of these games… No, it is not a challenge, but a mini-duel, without any doubt. It is always interesting for me to guard LeBron, because he is a really smart player, who knows not only how to score, but also how to do everything else: rebound, pass, steal the ball. There, he has blocked four of our shots in this game.
- You really have the right to compare, so, is James the best basketball player in the world right now?
- If I say yes, then a lot of people will make noise arguing that it is Durant or Bryant. So I’ll only speak of my own perception. First, the results speak in his favor: Miami has won the title last season. Second, I really sympathize with him because of his versatile brand of basketball that he plays. But what’s probably most important, he is a basketball player who, by playing great, makes his teammates play better too. Regarding this, nobody comes close to him.
The most interesting thing happens when you manage to meet eyes with him. Then sometimes you can tell what he is going to do. But right away you realize that he has already guessed your plans and is going do something else now. That’s the telepathic connection we establish. Who outwits who. Sometimes he does, sometimes I do.
- And what do you need to do to stop him?
- (Laughing) It is easy to say but much harder to do. You need to deny him the ball as much as possible. You should make him take shots from the distance. When James is driving to the hoop, he is extremely dangerous and is literally impossible to stop. Yes, he shoots better from the distance now, but it is still less dangerous than his drives. And, of course, you need to make him go left. It doesn’t lessen the degree of danger, but it is less comfortable for him this way. Today we managed to hold him back for most of the game.
- You managed, in the first place. And then you have successfully moved to guarding Wade, who Shved couldn’t do anything against in the first half, and then Wade scored almost nothing against you.
- Wade scored enough already. It is extremely difficult to guard when the opponents have two super scorers like that. You can, of course, start beating yourself on the chest and shout, “I have stopped LeBron and Wade today!” But it is definitely not so. Yes, this game was rather good for me personally in terms of defense. And I did defend for a few possessions against both James and Wade. But the end result does not speak in my favor.
Timofey Mozgov has updated his blog at Sports.ru.
Here’s my quick translation of the entire post:
Hi everyone! It’s nice after all the hard work in practice to eventually return on the court. First in the game against the Lakers and then Atlanta too. A lot of people make jokes already that LA are my “clients”. I guess there’s some small amount of truth to it: I really play against them often and a lot.
And coaching staff backs it up too. I knew it beforehand that I would step on the court. The “headquarters” informed me about it in the morning. Even though they made a remark that normally they don’t like to let players know in advance. But we were about to face such a strong frontcourt that we had to throw all forces to fight it. They told me to get ready.
I’ll say it once again: I was happy to get some considerable playing time after all. But to tell the truth, I didn’t expect to get so many minutes. Even though – once again, as I already said – physically I’ve been ready for a long time. Foot doesn’t bother me anymore; I’m working hard in the gym: both before the team practice and after it.
Though I already blogged about this training regimen that I have. I won’t repeat myself.
I think I played alright. Alright in a sense that no practice (even if it’s very long and hard) can replace a real game for a basketball player. So of course I don’t get to play enough now. From this stems the stark realization that everything could (and should) be much better.
By the way, here’s what I want to note separately. Finally – in my third NBA season – I got to face Howard on the court!:))) Well, it’s clear why they call this strong, aggressive and quick guy the best center there is. He is gifted with all these qualities in abundance. Actually, you already know his strongest traits.
Of course, he did his thing great against us. Let’s call things by their names: he buried us. Though, despite all that, there were some moments where you could realize that even “superman” is human. He, too, can be not perfect, he can feel the pain and it’s possible to compete with him.
But Bryant wasn’t on his best game. And our defense didn’t let him go too. But, as you can see, it didn’t change the general situation…
I got my second real chance this season – not garbage time, but a good number of minutes – during the game against Atlanta. Once again, I knew it beforehand that I would play. Kosta felt some stomach pains in the morning and wasn’t even listed for the game.
As you can guess, having tasted blood again versus LA, my desire to play exceeded even my normal desire that is always strong. So the “hungry and mad” Mozgov was very active under the rims. With all that, I can’t say I had dramatically changed the way I play and so those 13 rebounds came right away. I was just doing my job, and a good deal of what I tried ended well.
For now, to my regret, main thing didn’t work out: using two chances out of two didn’t bring me a stable spot in rotation. So I continue to patiently work hard.
And to finish, here’s something not basketball-related. Lyokha is almost walking on his own already. He’s even more confident standing on his feet now. Alla and I can’t be happier looking at the new games that he comes up with.
By the way, about the other “games”.
We still go out to eat together with the guys. So, here’s a fun thing that we do. When it’s time to pay on receipt, we take all our credit cards and give it to the waitress. She hides it behind the back and we start to pick the “lucky ones”. The last credit card that’s left is used for payment.
Guys are already looking at me sideways – I’m always out during the “qualifying” rounds for probably a year already. I have to counter it, “When I lose, it’s going to be no problem”. And the most frequent client turns out to be Danilo:))
That’s all for now. Keep waiting for the new posts.
P.S. Sorry that I’m not updating my blog often. I don’t want to write about the mundane stuff, and there aren’t many other causes. I hope that it’s just for now. Oh, and by the way – check the comments too, which you can leave now in the guestbook at my website mozgov.pro )))
Timofey has also joined his readers in the comments under the post for the first time and answered a few questions before leaving for another practice. There, he said normally eating together are Koufos, Gallinari, him and “Felipe, one of the trainers”.
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