Mozgov blogs about his double-double and what’s next
Here’s a translation of Timofey Mozgov’s latest post from his personal blog at Sports.ru.
I wanted to tell you about our home win vs. Miami. I even had the title for my blog post ready – “Sunstroke”. And then that thing happened – we played against Detroit. So it didn’t work out. But of course I don’t regret it)))
I did a lot of interviews with journalist out of Russia after the game. My phone was ringing all the time. I barely managed to have a snack))) It will be hard not to repeat myself here. But I’ll try. My emotions calmed down a bit. I’ll try to recall the facts, which I could have forgotten in the heat after the game.
By the way, between phone calls from the media I managed to talk to my parents and my brother and to receive a text message from Kirilenko. Andrei sent me congratulations on the good game. And my fans from Khimki wrote some nice words on Vkontakte (Facebook clone – A.C.). Thanks to you all, my friends. Honestly, it’s very nice to feel your support. SPA-SI-BO!!!)))
During last quarter the 20,000 people in the stands of MSG were chanting my last name. You know, it was really like madness. It’s hard to describe those feelings. To tell the truth, it’s even hard to imagine those feelings. Right now I try to recall how it was, and just can’t believe that it was real. It’s like a dream. You can only feel it when it’s happening.
I was asked if that ever happened before in my life. Did people in the stands chant my name? Yes, it happened: the fans in Khimki are very grateful, and I heard it on the national team too. But, of course, there were not 20,000 fans. I had feelings like this for the first time.
Later I heard that journalists compared me to a bear that broke out of the cage. And a TV announcer even suggested that our arena be renamed as Mozgov Square Garden))) This is funny, if course. Like I say, it’s like a mass madness.
Here’s another proof – I found it on the website of the Knicks. It’s a cool thing – I believe it’s called Mozgov Mania))))
Of course, to be sincere, this kind of support really makes me happy. No less sincere, it really feels good to make your true supporters happy with good game. Because I value them so much. But I perceive this great attention philosophically – staying rather calm. I don’t tend to fall for things like that. I understand it perfectly that after I played like that – I’m high in the saddle. Tomorrow it’s going to be somebody else under the floodlights and in front of cameras. But, of course, feedback like this gives me energy. That’s a fact!
But star fever doesn’t threaten Mozgov, that’s for sure. Only if stats like this becomes a norm for me, then maybe I will think and start to enjoy the extra attention))) But anyway I promise not to turn my nose up))) Speaking seriously, right now there’s nothing to pride myself upon – there’s a lot of work to do. I know that, on the one hand, it was a game that is hard to repeat. Those are good numbers for a rookie. But, on the other hand, I didn’t do anything outstanding. I scored 23 points not in 10 minutes. For this amount of playing time, this is a normal result in the best league in the world. At least, these are the goals I set for myself.
After the game I was literally surrounded by the local media. About 15 journalists rushed to me in the first place. They asked different things. “What do you feel now?” “What was your preparation for this game?” “How did it happen that you scored so many points?” “What’s coming next?”… My English now allows me to talk to them on a decent level. Without the nuances, of course, but still… But what can I tell them? Because actually everything was just as usual.
I didn’t know that I would step on the court that day. The coach didn’t tell me anything beforehand. Maybe he himself wasn’t completely sure that it would happen exactly on that day. Maybe he wanted to play it according to situation. Chandler broke down, Williams was suspended, and Stoudemire had health issues. You can’t envy the coach!
By the way, Stat ended up running for his regular amount of playing time. I think if there were no problems that I mentioned above, he would have played less. Me, I knew that my chances to step on the court improve. Not to 100 percent, but still they were increasing. I was getting ready for the game as normal. I decided – whatever happens happens. I read a book, listened to some music and practiced before the game…
And I kept on thinking that I want to play very much. Journalists counted (I read it in American media after the game) that basically wasn’t on the court since mid-November. That means, I didn’t play in the last 10 games, and the last time that I played for more than 10 minutes was December 4th.
It turned out that was my day. During the game it so happened that Ronnie got two quick fouls. And coach made that decision. I’ll be honest, I was really worried and I felt that I could play and I only needed the time. Because everything was going well at practices. I talked to the coach, and he promised it to me that I would be on the court soon. It just wasn’t clear, when exactly. And here, he kept his promise.
He kept his promise even though I started the game in a way that made me feel uneasy, to put it mildly. Two fouls, a turnover, bad misses. I though, so now he would bench me for sure. But during timeouts coach wasn’t saying anything to me, he was just giving directions to the team and then putting me back in the game.
After the first quarter guys ran to me. They told me not to worry, not to be nervous; to keep on shooting and everything would work out. I braced myself. No, I wasn’t nervous. I just needed the time to feel the rhythm of the game again. Then, after I felt it, I could hit free throws, midrange shots and score in the paint.
9-for-11 – that’s the stat. I even liked it myself. If only I didn’t mess up in the beginning. Should have blocked at least a couple shots too. And I got my share of dunks! One of my slams happened after Danilo scored from behind the arc. That made the score 96:91. After that we never trailed, and I also scored the last two points of the game, shooting from about five meters I guess.
After the game coach said that I did well. I also want to say: thank you, coach, that you gave me a chance and worked with me so much. I was glad to help the team win!
Guys in the locker room patted me on the shoulder. They were also having fun: they spoke with a terrible accent impersonating Ivan Drago – like, the Russian destroyed everyone)))
And when I got to my locker I saw the game ball there. As they later explained to me, it’s a tradition in the NBA that a player gets to keep the game ball after he made his first double-double. I will receive the ball at the next practice – with the date of the game marked on it along with my stats. I’ll be showing it to my kids, my first trophy in the league)))
Near end of the game, to tell the truth, I got very tired. All in all, I was running around without getting substituted for an entire European game. It never happened in my career. Alla and me went to our favorite restaurant Mari Vanna. I drank so much water during the game that I had a hard time eating. And then I didn’t sleep too well – thinking about the game, about what I could have done better and how…
And also I was thinking about the next game: “What’s coming next?» I really want to learn the answer to this question, which American journalists asked me.