Andrei Kirilenko and CSKA Moscow: Week of 11/14
Guts and Glory
AK has been named Euroleague MVP for Week 5.
During this game, Week 2 and Week 4 Euroleague MVP Nicolas Batum tweeted:
With Malaga’s Unicaja in town, CSKA had a rare sell-out crowd. It was a low scoring affair in the first half with the two teams combining for 17 turnovers. Neither was able to get into a flow, which led to a ton of lead changes.
In the second quarter, AK got the rebound on the first Unicaja possession and hit a 3 on the other end. Over the next minute, he stole the ball three times out of Unicaja’s next 4 possessions. CSKA kept turning the ball right back over, but closed the half on an 8-2 run to make it 34-29.
10-3 run for CSKA to start the third, which ended with CSKA outscoring Unicaja 28-12 in the quarter. After three quarters, it was 62-41 and we were seemingly en route to a massacre…until Unicaja opened the 4th on a 15-2 run, and we had a game again.
Confession: I was kind of glad that Unicaja got back in the game, which meant that AK stayed in the game, which meant that we got to watch his efficiency ranking (positive stats minus negative stats) keep going up, and up, and up. By the end of the game, he had a ranking of 39, which broke his own record for highest single-game Euroleague ranking this season.
Final score: CSKA 77, Unicaja 66. AK’s line: 17 points on 3–yes, 3–shots, 12-13 FTs, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 6 steals, 3 blocks, and 7 fouls drawn in 35 minutes.
Unicaja head coach Chus Mateo after the game:
I think CSKA will be a part of the Final Four this season. And Andrei Kirilenko is the player who makes the difference in comparison to other top teams. He is doing everything: he had almost 40 ranking points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals, 3 blocked shots, 7 fouls drawn. He is humble and modest. He is a real star.” (EL)
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine of the Night
** Goes inside, pulls out, short 2, it’s good. Both sides trying to contain the penetration.
** Makes the decision, pulls it out. Oh, Rowland.
** As soon as you relax with Andrei Kirilenko, good things happen. It’s all about tempo for Malaga.
** Krstic gets deep again, doesn’t get the drop.
** I just love it when Teodosic gets himself going.
** Quick move by Joel Freeland. 8 feet in, he is as tough as anyone.
** Sasha Kaun with the finish. It was too easy to get it in there.
(all by the British announcer)
Blood and Guts
On Saturday, the arena of Krasnye Krylya (“Red Wings”) was filled as never before to
hear the announcement of the great Prince Humperdinck’s bride-to-be see the arrival of the great Andrei Kirilenko. Fans were sitting in the aisles, on the steps, and standing jam-packed in the small space behind the baselines with “no room for so much as a falling apple” (this is apparently a Russian journalistic cliche for a packed house).
Six minutes into the game, AK jumped to intercept a pass and was inadvertently elbowed in the face by Red Wing Fedor Likholitov. He slammed face-first into the floor.
When he bounced off his side onto his back, blood everywhere.
The CSKA team doctor “with great difficulty stopped the bleeding.” Five minutes later, AK walked off the court under his own power with a trainer holding his arm as Red Wings fans gave him an ovation.
Viktor Khryapa then took the team on his shoulders and CSKA scored 20 straight points to start the second quarter. Midway through the third, CSKA lost its star point guard, Milos Teodosic, when he was hit in the head by Likholitov while going up for a layup. The collision caused Teodosic to stumble, and he fell to the floor clutching his ankle. Likholitov was called for a flagrant foul.
Later in the quarter, AK reappeared on CSKA’s bench. Remember in Eurobasket when AK was sent to the hospital for tests due to a gash above the right eye? In that instance and this one, he wasn’t taken to the hospital until after the games ended. Team officials later said that he had split his good eyebrow (i.e. the left one), broken his nose (which would be reset in Moscow), and dislocated his shoulder when he landed on it. Good news is, no concussion.
The team delayed their flight back to Moscow while AK was getting treated. He initially couldn’t even recall how he’d gotten injured, and only remembered after seeing game tape. On the following day (Sunday), AK’s entire face was black and blue. He’ll have to wear a mask for a while, and is out for next week’s two games.
Red Wings coach Sergei Bazarevich in the post-game press conference:
“So many people came to the game. Not very nice that they came for the other team.” (rg.ru)
Oh yeah, CSKA won its 12th straight, 88-73.
Final note: Remember Joe Alexander? He’s now a Red Wing. This is what he used to look like (left). This is what he looks like now (right). He appears to have cleaned up since a few weeks ago (center).
I have words for you, Joe Alexander. No, Joe, no. 醜死了.