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.
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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Journalist Pavel Osipov of Sport-Express has interviewed Alexey Shved on the phone after the Russian guard tied Luke Ridnour in scoring with 16 points in Minnesota’s win.
Here’s my translation:
- Even though Minnesota won, it still had the same problem: during the second half, team inevitably struggles on offense. For example, during the third quarter today, Timberwolves couldn’t score for five and a half minutes. Why does it happen?
- We are doing our best, but at one moment it’s just – pow! – and we stall. We have missed a lot of open shots today, even though we executed well. It helped that we defended well, and also managed to recollect ourselves on offense just in time.
- Minnesota got a lot of help from you – those three-pointers were timely. You have made four three-pointers for the game – that’s your best record during the NBA career.
- (Laughing) Actually I don’t track my stats this closely. But of course it’s really good that I made it. It was time for me to start making the shots at last.
- Thanks to what exactly?
- I have started to feel my shot; I have more confidence shooting the ball in general. And maybe I got used to the American three-point arc after all.
- Is it more difficult for you to shoot from behind the arc that is about three feet farther away than in Europe?
- I wouldn’t say so.
- And you have proved it that distance doesn’t make any difference – when you made a shot from almost 30 feet away with less than two minutes to go.
- I have checked the scoreboard right when I received the ball. Also, teammates told me that time was running out. If we had at least five extra seconds then I wouldn’t shoot it from that distance and would try to do something else. But in that situation I had no choice. When you have the ball it your hands with two seconds left, you just have to shoot it anyway.
- You have made 9 of 17 shots from behind the arc during the last three games. Can you say that you managed to find your shot after all?
- Let’s wait for a few more games and make conclusions then. Before that, I had 10 games when I couldn’t make anything. If I continue to make shots, then it will mean that I got used to playing here.
- Do the opponents still doubt your ability to score from the distance, or did they start to guard you closer?
- They are guarding me closer. And they started to jump at my pump fakes too – before, they wouldn’t even move. Actually, it’s good that they are guarding me closer now. It’s much easier to drive to the hoop this way. When you can’t shoot, the defender would step away further and it’s easier for him to defend.
- It’s been a few games since Love, Pekovic and Barea returned. But you still play more than 30 minutes in every game. Did you think you would get so much playing time?
- Without a doubt, Andrei’s absence due to injury in those games affected that. I got some extra playing time. But it was also more difficult to play. Having Kirilenko on the floor helps, I feel much more comfortable playing with him.
Then, another shooting guard, Chase Budinger, is injured.
Of course I’m happy that so much trust is being put in me. And I want to justify it, to help the team as much as I can. Not just on offense, but on defense too. Even though I know it perfectly that I play bad defense.
- Is it harder to play defense in the NBA than in Europe?
- Of course! Take [Juan Carlos] Navarro and [Kobe] Bryant, for example. Both are superstars, but there’s a difference. Playing against Navarro you know that you need to deny him the open shot and his trademark ‘La Bomba’. But how do you defend Kobe, who knows how to do absolutely everything?
- Probably the best recent news for Minnesota is that Ricky Rubio returned to practice.
- Yes, he started to practice with the team and should be back on the floor soon. When exactly it will happen is unknown. But it will be soon. Players, fans and journalists are all waiting for his return.
- Will Rubio’s return affect your playing time?
- I don’t think so. After all, I rarely play point guard – mostly at shooting guard. Of course, we’ll see. But one thing is certain: I need to work hard all the time and earn my minutes, prove that I deserve it. Yes, some really bad off games happen. But coach still trusts me – and, believe me, it’s very important.
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Kevin Garnett has joined the long list of NBA stars that toured China this summer, though his itinerary is rather surprising, starting in Harbin. It is so far in the North that it’s actually just a few hours’ drive away from where I’m currently based in Russia.
The organizers have set up a stage on the central pedestrian street of Harbin, and what seems to be thousands of fans flocked to see the event. I know that place very well, as I’ve been learning Chinese for a month just a few blocks from there, across the Stalin Park.
Don’t be surprised to see a Russian Orthodox Cathedral standing nearby in the video, as it’s Harbin’s most recognizable building, left there by Harbin Russians and turned into a museum by now.
Here’s what Red’s Army blog posted earlier after seeing the photos:
“The one thing that really blows me away about some of these pics is the amount of fans that turned-out. Now I know KG is huge worldwide, but this crowd rivaled some of the Sox & Celtics’ victory parades we had here in Boston recently”.
Here’s guessing that it was the biggest event in Harbin in quite some time. It is a great city, which is tenth in population in China, and yet it’s very remote and rather quiet as compared to Shanghai or Beijing, and not really spoiled by superstar visits.
On stage, Garnett has unveiled his new signature shoe, Anta KG III.
Among other things, a Chinese journalist has asked KG about his relationship with Didier Drogba, who is the biggest star from abroad currently playing in China. Garnett said yet another time that he is a fan of Chelsea F.C. He added that he only met Drogba briefly, yet sent him a telegram, congratulating on a championship, which probably shows how close of a friends they are. A telegram.
Garnett recalled that Drogba also went to see him play in an exhibition game in London. No surprise as Drogba is a basketball guy himself.
Too bad that Shanghai is not on Garnett’s schedule, as Drogba’s team plays a home game September 15th.
Now, Garnett’s tour goes on, with a complete schedule as follows: Harbin (Sep. 6), Zhengzhou (Sep. 7), Chengdu (Sep. 8) and Shenzhen (Sep. 9-11). So there’s probably more to come about Garnett’s travels.
Allen Iverson has finally decided to pursue his basketball career in China, and has to take what’s available right now – a contract for a handful of exhibition games. It remains possible that the former NBA MVP signs with a professional team in China before start of the season, but so far the talks didn’t result in a deal.
The exhibition games will take place October 18 – 28 in four different cities in China. Iverson will clearly be the biggest star of the event – as he unveiled the tour’s poster, he saw his portrait in the fine company of a retired NBA player Jason “White Chocolate” Williams and AND1 streetballers The Professor and Bone Collector.
Iverson said, “Nice” when he first saw the poster, then turned back again to study the details closely.
Jeremy Lin spent some of his time in China as a guest star on a TV show “China’s got talent”.
He did show some tricks:
But more importantly, it was Lin’s birthday, so the hosts presented him with a cake:
So Jeremy Lin s fans in Houston should rejoice, but remaining in New York may only find it comforting that Lin already got a boat instead:
Alexey Shved has revealed the actual reason for his move to Minnesota: he picked the team out fear of competition.
As Timberwolves’ new guard was answering post-game questions in London, Sergey Karasev, who Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress called the ‘only NBA draft prospect at Olympics’, interrupted his video interview.
Karasev asked if it was the right decision to sign with Minnesota.
Shved didn’t hesitate.
‘Actually, a really regret that I didn’t sign with Triumph. But Karasev plays at my position there, and I didn’t know how to handle this problem’.
In a way that is quickly becoming a tradition for him, Shved followed with ‘but to be serious’ and tried his best to field the reporter’s question. Though it wasn’t easy.
Karasev along with young center Semen Antonov started to howl in the background, and then ‘Big Bad Wolf! – Big Bad Wolf!’ exchange with Shved has ensued.
In a possible attempt to raise his NBA draft stock, Karasev proceeded with a showcase of his balance and soft hands, pirouetting with Antonov in front of camera.
Make no mistake: even though Shved can be somewhat of a goofball and occasionally shows ‘less than super intangibles’ with his appearance, on the court he’s ‘extremely tough and won’t back down from anyone’, as recently confirmed by Timberwolves’ assistant coach Bill Bayno.
Young players obviously went against the will of Russian Prime Minister, who declared ‘no fooling around by athletes’ policy on the verge of the Olympics. But their creative talent helped turn what was destined to be a clichéd post-game interview into so much more.
Follow Alexander Chernykh on Twitter to stay updated on #ShvedFace and Russian basketball.
Having played great during Russia’s 95-72 win over Great Britain (boxscore), Timberwolves’ new guard Alexey Shved had to answer a lot of questions in English in the mixed zone. But later, Nikita Zagdai of Sports.ru got him for an exclusive interview in Russian.
Here’s a quick translation:
I passed every ball to [Andrei] Kirilenko, because we’re a duo. All Minnesota players feel special! Getting ready for the next season. But to be serious, it just happened this way. I had the ball, and he was open. We got used to playing together in CSKA. He scores, I’m passing the ball. It works great.
Your line is phenomenal: 16 points, 13 assists and 6 rebounds. Did you know you were close to a triple-double?
I didn’t even think about it. Only learned about the assists from guys on the bench. And also felt it myself, that I have dished a lot. But I didn’t check it on purpose. I was thinking more about the need to win this first game. And the second one. These are the most important games for us right now.
It seemed like the game involved the guards more, they were always a center of attention. Should it be like this, or did it happen because of the opponent?
I wouldn’t say so. We have everybody playing good. Bigs on the pick-n-rolls… well, everybody. When we need to, we are feeding the ball to bigs – or to Kirya, like today. We try to do act depending on the situation. Before each game we discuss everything, watch and decide what’s the best thing to do.
13 assists – did you move to point guard full-time? Getting ready to run the team in Minnesota?
No, I wasn’t even told what position I would play. But I’m ready for anything. I’ll play whatever way they need me to. I’m ready for everything, and then whatever happens, happens. We’ll see.
Your team was one of the last to arrive in London. What did you get to see already, what surprised you?
Well, everything! This is my first Olympics, after all. Everything is new. The Olympic village, all the athletes living together. We were welcomed really good. It’s fun. I liked it a lot. And one time we managed to visit a mall. There were a lot of people and we took a lot of pictures. But we’ll have a day off, so we’ll go out somewhere and look around.