Remembering Zalgiris

When the Wizards' preseason schedule was released a few months ago, I nearly jumped out of my seat when I saw the game against Zalgiris Kaunas. It immediately took me back to my trip last winter to Eastern Europe for a story on international basketball - and one of the more memorable Thanksgiving meals of my life.

Yes, I spent Thanksgiving in Lithuania last year. It's not as sad as it might sound. I knew when I planned the trip that I was going to have to spend America's biggest pig-out holiday in a country that didn't know anything about it and didn't care, either. Plus, my wife was cool with me being there, telling me that we would celebrate the holiday when I returned.

But it was my last night of an exhausting two-week trip through Russia, Serbia and Lithuania and I decided to spend it watching a EuroLeague game between Zalgiris and CSKA Moscow.


The mascot for Zalgiris. I have no idea what it is. I think it's supposed to be some sort of forest dweller. It looks like a blend of Yosemite Sam and The Muppets.

Zalgiris-CSKA is about as big as a game can get in Lithuania. It would almost be like watching a Duke-Carolina game at Camden Indoor Arena, except the rivalry has even deeper intensity and historical significance. Zalgiris is Lithuania's flagship team (it was founded in 1944 - two years before the NBA was formed) and CSKA has its roots in the Soviet Red Army, which made for some hotly contested events - especially during the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. I met a former Zalgiris player who told me in his broken English that fans would sometimes get into fights - with each other and with players - during the more heated games.

The game was played at the historic Sports Hall in Kaunas, the hometown of NBA stars such as Arvydas Sabonis, Sarunas Marciulionus, Zydrunas Ilguaskas and former Maryland point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius. The gym was built in 1939 in time for Lithuania to host the second-ever European Championships. Lithuania won its second consecutive gold medal that year in controversial fashion with the aide of Frank Lubin, an American born to Lithuanian immigrants. Lubin is known as the "Godfather of Lithuanian basketball" after popularizing the game in the country.

Trust me, the tiny little gym hadn't been touched much in the past 70 years. Only two years ago, the team added about 500 seats to raise the capacity of the gym to roughly 5,000. Fans were packed in like circus clowns in a Volkswagen Beetle. You really can touch the ceiling from the upper deck.


Raucous fans at Sports Hall.

I happened to be sitting in the section with some tall, former Lithuanian basketball players and I know they had to be suffering because I'm 6-2 and I could feel my knees against my chest. Algis Pavilonis, Director of Lithuanian National Team Foundation and my tour guide for most of my time in Lithuania, was at least five inches taller than me.

But being so close created a really intimate atmosphere for the game. It was much more boisterous than any college game, with fans chanting and singing, constantly and loudly.


Another shot of the fans.

The coolest part about the arena, though, had to be the concessions. Zalgiris had its own beer. Not really. But one of the team's sponsors is a nearby brewery that produces beer cans with the team logo. I don't drink, but I took one home with me.


Some game action. See former Duke guard Trajan Langdon, right, guarding former Utah Utes star Hanno Mottola in the middle.

There was a section of the gym, where fans hopped up and down and waved gigantic green and white flags for the team. The fans were especially excited on this night, as Zalgiris went into the locker room with a 10-point halftime lead. But they left disappointed as CSKA, one of the premier teams in the EuroLeague, won in dominant fashion.

(An aside note: CSKA's coach, Ettore Messina, is bound to get a shot in the NBA some day. Cleveland Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown said that he went to CSKA's training camp in Italy to study Messina's offensive schemes this summer. The guy truly is as sharp as they come. He speaks fluent English, is a winner and really knows the game of basketball. I asked Messina after the game against Zalgiris if he had any interest in coming to America. The Italian native didn't exactly say no, but he knew that it wouldn't be easy for a coach from Europe to get through to NBA players. "If they don't listen to Larry Brown," Messina said, without finishing his thought.)


You thought dance teams were only in America?

Sabonis, the former Portland Trail Blazers center, currently is the principle owner of Zalgiris, the team for which he made his professional debut at age 17. After the game, he angrily stormed off the court without saying a word.


Throw it down little woman! I believe this is what the Wizards' dance team was trying to do before poor all-star Crystal tore her ACL.

So what made my Thanksgiving meal special? No, I didn't have a traditional Lithuanian meal with potato pancakes and mushrooms. I had McDonald's.

Before we took the hour-long drive from Kaunas to the capital city of Vilnius, Algis asked me if I was hungry. Indeed I was, having only eaten a salad about eight hours earlier. He suggested that we eat at McDonald's since it was the only nearby restaurant where we could grab something quickly.

I ordered a Big N' Tasty combo. Algis ordered a Filet-O-Fish and an ice cream and said he'd rather sit down and eat because he didn't want to drop any sauce on his coat. While we were eating, I kept reaching into the pockets of my coat and my pants. I had misplaced my tape recorder - which held all of my interviews from Lithuania. I would take a bite of my sandwich, reach in my pocket and repeat.

After awhile, Algis noticed what I was doing and asked me if I was okay. I told him, "I think I left my tape recorder at the gym." He was shocked, to say the least. He said,
"After you finish, we will go back and see if it is there."

I wolfed down my food so fast that he only had time to eat his ice cream. Algis drove over to the gym. For a few minutes, I was afraid that I was going to have to stay in Lithuania permanently. No way I could come back to America without my recorded interviews. Fortunately, Algis walked out after a few minutes with my tape recorder in his hand.

A janitor found it in the press conference room.

"You are lucky," Algis told me.

Indeed, I was. If we hadn't stopped to eat at McDonald's, that tape recorder and those interviews likely would've been lost forever. That's why it is the meal I'll never forget, one for which I will truly give thanks.

Algis made me pay him back by driving most of the way back to Vilnius. He wanted to eat his fish sandwich without having to worry about the sauce, the extreme fog on the road or the wild elk that roam throughout the countryside. It was a great trade for me.

By Michael Lee |  October 17, 2007; 6:51 PM ET
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Comments

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What a great post-and-pix! Thanks, Michael.

Posted by: joe | October 17, 2007 6:56 PM

Cool pics Mike, thanks. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | October 17, 2007 7:16 PM

Michael, That was a fabulous story...it felt like I was in the gym with the noise and sweat levels at high intensity. Can you give us a short preview as to what to expect from this team on Friday? Since the game is televised it will be interesting to bring a little knowledge to the game. Will the Wizards have trouble with this team? Thanks again for a fascinating post.

Posted by: arnie | October 17, 2007 7:18 PM

Cool story Michael. Isn't McDonald's great!

Posted by: Adam | October 17, 2007 7:21 PM

Michael that might be one of the best posts ever on these boards. Thanks!

Posted by: Prazak | October 17, 2007 7:25 PM

Wow, great story.

Stories like this make me think of the concept of the noosphere.

Yeah, really.

Posted by: SteveMG | October 17, 2007 7:34 PM

Ivan,

I studied in the Soviet Union and spent many wonderful times in Lithuania. It is a great country. Nice story.

Gareth

Posted by: Gareth | October 17, 2007 7:55 PM

Cool post.

I think I saw that mascot in an episode of "Star Trek", only it was much smaller and there were two of them writhing on the ground after Kirk smashed the magic wand that created the illusion of the Halloween-like castle.

". . . since it was only nearby restaurant . . ."

I also appreciate how you write in style of English as second language to further convey atmosphere by leave out article.

Posted by: Perplexicon | October 17, 2007 8:34 PM


Great story, Michael. btw, it's such a shame that Sabonis didn't get a chance to play in the NBA until he was old and had a bad knee. I've read that he was absolutely incredible when he was in his prime.

Posted by: John Brisker | October 17, 2007 9:59 PM

Fabulous Michael....loving this Wiz blog really!!!!

Posted by: Blaise | October 17, 2007 10:51 PM

Good post and story -- it's sad how little detail we generally know as Americans about the wild popularity of basketball worldwide. Thanks for shedding some light.

I expect Friday's game will be very interesting to watch and compare styles -- hope EJ gives it more of a "real-game" run than he has in the other preseason games.

Sounds like from your post, the Sports Arena is a little smaller than Cameron Indoor Stadium, just as crowded, and only two years older to boot. (I often wonder what the Carolina-Duke rivalry would be like nowadays if UNC hadn't left Carmichael Auditorium, a shrine of a gym with a special magic all its own).

Posted by: iceberg | October 17, 2007 11:06 PM

Excellent post... thank you for sharing your story and pictures with us, I would love to spend some time watching some European basketball one day, of course, that would mean I would have to travel to Europe. The trade-off is not worth it.

Posted by: Jason | October 18, 2007 1:57 AM

Check espn's true hoop yesterday for a link to a You Tube video biography of Sabonis. In his prime, he was unstoppable... a dominant big man with incredible court sense and a lethal outside shot.

But even late in his career with the Blazers you could see the interior passing skills and hook shot that set him apart from US counterparts. It was fun when the Blazers came to DC and the Lithuanian fans would turn out with national flags to welcome their great hero.

Posted by: khrabb | October 18, 2007 4:35 AM

Nice post Micheal, I guess Micheal posting and not mentioning the possibility of a Kobe deal lets us know how real that idea is.

Posted by: GM | October 18, 2007 7:49 AM

Mike Great Post.

Thanks for the insight, but I gotta question the Big n' Tasty...really?

PS: A writer that doesn't booze? Isn't that like a lifeguard that doesn't swim?

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | October 18, 2007 9:16 AM

Great story Michael! Do you think that EJ will be relying on D-Song to provide the scouting report on Zalgiris this week?

Posted by: PK1 | October 18, 2007 9:20 AM

Interesting reading, thanks.

Posted by: Sean | October 18, 2007 10:36 AM

I enjoyed your story. but now can you tell me when and where is the game going to be played? I looked on the Washington Post links related to the Wizards and no where did I find a thing about the game. The schedule section only shows the regular season, by the way, you have to ask for Utah Jazz to get the Wizards. The statistics are so old I remember reading them when I was in grammar school. Basically, what I am saying, the post information is unreliable.

Posted by: wpsucks | October 18, 2007 10:46 AM

I read this blog consistently to get my Wiz fix; however, this post was by far the best that I have had the pleasure of reading. I lived in Europe for five years and one of the things that I loved most was the sports atmosphere. For people who have never had the pleasure, local towns love their club teams just as much we love our local high school rivalries throughout our country. The only difference is that like Michael wrote, the rivalries over there really do have a life\death history. Again great story.

Posted by: Don | October 18, 2007 11:02 AM

I get the Big 'N Tasty too when I am not watching my weight.

Otherwise it's the kids hamburger happy meal:)

Posted by: sp | October 18, 2007 11:05 AM

It'll be fun to see how much playing time Darius gets tonight and how he interacts with his Lithuanian buddies. About 40% of Lithuanians and about 50% of Ukrainians are ethnic Russians, so maybe Pech can talk some trash Friday night in his native tongue.

Posted by: Prazak | October 18, 2007 12:17 PM

Oops, make that Friday night, not tonight...

Posted by: Prazak | October 18, 2007 12:26 PM

Awesome post Mike. European sports arouse so much more passion, usually due to lengthy and sometimes less than friendly relations between cities or countries, as you detailed above. Makes the US sports-as-entertainment model seem relatively lame.

Your story reminds me of sitting right next to the Lithuanian section during the US-Lithuania game in Athens in 2004.

Those are some serious fans. Dancing, jumping, singing, and flag-waving all game, even during halftime. My brother-in-law and I tried some USA chants but we sounded pathetic and only had a tiny little US flag to wave. Terrible ending, too. I believe it was Sarunas that lit us up with his threes at the end.

Posted by: wisc. ave | October 18, 2007 12:41 PM

Great story Michael! I would love to see more European teams come over for games with NBA teams, and for the NBA games in Europe and China to be broadcast over here as well. I never saw those NBA in Europe games against Euro teams on the Comcast MidAtlantic schedule, and if they were on another Comcast channel, Dish Network didn't have them.

Posted by: rgz | October 18, 2007 1:02 PM

You are a terrific story teller, Michael. Hopefully we see more entries like this!

Posted by: sfam | October 18, 2007 1:15 PM

There was a time when Sabonis was probably the best big man in the world that wasn't in the NBA.

It's a shame that the cold war and years of leg problems kept him out of the NBA until he was quite a veteran.

But he was probably one of the greatest international players of all time. Some say he was one of the best big men ever to play, putting him up there with guys like Russell, Chamberlain, Jabber, and Shaq.

I never saw enough of him as a young player to really know how good he was, it's a shame that we never got to see him compete against the best when he was at his best. One of those guys that you here stories about his feats and wonder if he was as good as they say.

Posted by: GM | October 18, 2007 1:39 PM

You know, I always wondered about Sabonis. I'm a basketball junkie, but I'm still young, and I've always heard that Sabonis would have dominated the league had he played in his younger years...

Posted by: David | October 18, 2007 2:02 PM

Maybe not the right entry to post this on, but I just read this on ESPN Insider and figured it's worth a talk about. Chad Ford put the Wiz as second to the Bulls as possible places for Kobe.

"CONTENDERS [FOR KOBE]
1. Washington Wizards

Could the Wizards get both MJ and Bryant in the same decade?

The Wizards' package: Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young, Darius Songaila and a first-round draft pick.
(View the deal in our Trade Machine.)

The Wizards would immediately become Eastern Conference contenders. And with Arenas expected to opt out of his contract next summer, the Wizards would remove the risk that he bolts for another destination ... while getting Bryant right now.

For the Lakers, Arenas would return home to add some sizzle to the roster, and Young, another local product, is an athletic 2-guard who would eventually take Bryant's spot in the lineup.

Another possibility would be a three-way deal that would send Bryant to the Bulls, Arenas, Young and Noah to the Lakers, and Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Viktor Khryapa, Griffin and a re-signed Brown to the Wizards."

Question to all: if you were EG and this sort of deal (the first one) were to come across your table, what would you do?

Good post, Michael, by the way.

Ivan, I'm guessing that was you walking into the Phone Booth via the movie theater side a half hour ago when I was heading back from lunch.

- Nick

Posted by: Nick | October 18, 2007 2:25 PM

"The Wizards would immediately become Eastern Conference contenders."

We have Gilbert and are contenders.

Kobe hasn't been able to do it without Shaq, there's no reason to think he would do it here.

If the Wiz ever got Kobe, I would have to stop watching them. Period.

People need to stop with this fantasy bball stuff.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | October 18, 2007 3:19 PM

Gilbert got to the second round of the playoffs with Kwame. Kobe never has.

Posted by: Sean | October 18, 2007 3:28 PM

Ray, fantasy bball stuff?

Not sure what you mean by that.

I don't see what's wrong with posturing on potential trades, let alone commenting on Chad Ford's article.

The truth is that neither EG nor Buss would be called crazy (at least not by me) to consider or even implement such a trade. I would certainly think twice before rejecting such an offer. I like Gil and I like Gil in DC. But Kobe is Kobe, and who knows where this team could get to in the playoffs with him on the team.

Posted by: Nick | October 18, 2007 3:28 PM

"Gilbert got to the second round of the playoffs with Kwame. Kobe never has.

Posted by: Sean | October 18, 2007 03:28 PM "

Talking about reaching into a bag and getting nothing. In case you don't remember, Kwame has been out injured for most of his tenure in LA.

Why don't you say Gilby has been to the second round of the playoffs with Larry Hughes, but has been one and done the seasons without?

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 18, 2007 3:43 PM

Gil got to the second round with Kwame scoring 5 ppg/5 rpg in 20 minutes per game. Not exactly monster numbers. He didn't play in the second round either, for the record, if you recall.

Kwame is and always will be a non-significant player. I have no concerns saying that and little belief that I'll be eating my words in the future.

In truth, nobody knows what Kobe would do on a team like Washington, with our new depth on the bench, up and comers like Blatche/Pesh/DMac. It would be interesting to see Kobe and Caron play together again too.

Anyway, I like Gil in DC, but one always has to think the what-if. And what else are we REALLY going to talk about here until the regular season starts? I'm enjoying the preseason games, but we're gonna be talking "blatche looks improved, young had a good shooting night but looks like he needs to mature, pesh looked more confident outthere." Nothing wrong in my book about talking about some potential trades, no matter how improbable it may appear.

Posted by: Nick | October 18, 2007 3:58 PM

When did Sean morph to Nick? Maybe GM = Mark = Ray = Darnell = anonymous = Lisa too

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 18, 2007 5:18 PM

DCMan88, my last post was actually in response to Sean's post, not yours. I agree with you that using Kwame as a basis of comparison doesn't make sense. I'm guessing that didn't come across in my post.

So Nick != Sean. Nick = Nick.

Posted by: Nick | October 18, 2007 6:00 PM

GM = Mark = Ray = Darnell = Bmorevernd = docklinkin = Lisa = Sean = kalorama === Good value to this Blog

DCidiot 88 == No value to this Blog

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 8:15 PM

What's funny is this. Kwame had a dominant game during the playoffs, I think it was the second game. How did EJ reward him? EJ gave him about 5 minutes in game 3.

Based on that Kwame accussed Gilby of going behind his back and undermining him through EJ and threatened to slap the sh@t out of Gilby. Kwame ended up calling out sick the next game and was suspended after that. He was subsequently traded that summer.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 18, 2007 8:54 PM

Did anyone read Ivan's article today? He wrote that Hibachi has been turned on, but on the low setting thus far this preseason. Gilby countered that his shot has been going in this preseason during PRACTICE and he feels good about that.

The last I checked, Hibachi has been off since right before last season's all star game. Also, getting your shot to fall during practice against teammates that don't play defense doesn't mean squat either.

If his shot is falling during practice, but not during the games, how does Gilby explain that? He can't apparently. Oh well...such is what they call gilbertology......

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 18, 2007 8:59 PM

Hey, thanks for that tip about the youtube Sabonis highlight reel. I'm going to check that out.

The problem with Kwame Brown was MJ. When he drafted a high school kid, I figured he'd make him his personal project--fly him up to Hoops in Chicago and work him out like crazy all summer, so that he'd be ready for the NBA. Instead, Kwame came in totally unprepared, and then MJ just beat on him mentally until he broke his spirit. No wonder he's a head case now. He shouldn't have been the #1 pick no matter what, but judging from the one good season that he had (2003-04) he still could have been a solid 10 and 10 guy at PF or C for somebody.

As for Gil and Kwame, I seem to remember that after Kwame ditched that practice during the playoffs, Gil went over to his house and tried to talk some sense into him. I do agree with DC Man88 that Eddie treated Kwame unfairly by benching him after he'd had a solid game 1 against Chicago. But when you're an NBA player, you have to be able to roll with it when a coach acts like an expletive-deleted to you. He'd have been better off approaching Eddie and asking for a man-to-man talk about it. Instead, he flaked out.

Of course, the end result of the Kwame debacle was Caron, so I guess things worked out okay. But I still feel bad for the guy.

Posted by: John Brisker | October 18, 2007 9:18 PM

Don't forget that MJ lapdog Dougie Collins did MJ's bidding against Kwame also.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 18, 2007 9:26 PM

It's amazing how much better you guys are than LaCanfora. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Glass Half Full? | October 18, 2007 10:28 PM

LaCanforna rocks. He's no sellout lapdog like Wilbon.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 18, 2007 10:47 PM

This Kobe/Gil trade talk is ridiculous. Do people honestly think Abe or Ernie would pull the trigger? After they've invested 3 years building around Arenas?

So to change the subject...

We are depending on a breakout season from Blatche, 3 rookies, and chemistry to make us a contender this year. We definitely aren't the deepest team in the league and because of this I understand why a lot of insider are writing the Wiz off this year.

My question is why are these same writers penciling in the Nets as CONTENDERS AND EASTERN ELITES while we dont even make the playoffs?! How are they any different from us? Kidd is reported to have back problems this year and Vince is getting older. They still have Jefferson but lost Mikki. Magloire is unfortunately pretty washed up in his career now and Nachbar isn't any different than Blatche (in terms of potential). Beyond that, they have nothing.

I don't get it.

Posted by: David | October 18, 2007 11:36 PM

I love articles like this. The historical information gives the sport, the fans, the event, that much more meaning, and one can appreciate it more. Thank you Michael!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2007 5:22 AM

I remember Sabonis giving Shaq fits in the playoff between the Lakers and the Blazers years ago until he fouled out in the final game.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2007 8:37 AM

Kwame, a dominate game in the playoffs? On the NBA channel a few weeks ago they showed the old Buffalo vs. the Bullets playoff game at the Capitol Center. The big E went for 48 points and I think about 17 rebounds. That series Elvin and Bob McAdoo dueled it out game after game.

That's what I'd call a dominate game in the playoffs. Kwame had one good game, really the kind of game you'd expect the number one pick in the draft to put up.

I'd kind of like to echo John Brisker's comments about Kwame. Could you imagine being a High School kid and having MJ and Oak Tree all over your butt Every day? Then the guy gets traded to play with Kobe.
I'm wondering where he'll end up after this season.

Posted by: GM | October 19, 2007 8:42 AM

You can call it a dominant game or not, but the point was that after someone has a dominant/great game, you don't give him 5 minutes the next game. Few championships are won without a good, proven, and consistent big man, and Les BouleS right now don't have one.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 19, 2007 8:57 AM

What can Les BouleS give up to get Channing Frye from Portland?

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10192007/sports/phil_ends_kobes_beef.htm?page=2

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 19, 2007 9:09 AM

The Gil for Kobe talk is not ridiculous. Gil is entering the last year of his deal and has vowed to opt out. Gil is a West Coast guy and would love to go back, I'm sure. Kobe might not love DC as much as LA, but it's not far from Philly, where he went to high school, and it's "the most powerful city in the world." So, it's worth thinking about.

Of course, there are problems with any deal like that. (1) The timing would be TERRIBLE for the Wizards. It seems to take time for players to adjust to EJ's motion offense, and the current Wiz seem to have great chemistry. (2) No way should we give up Gil, Nick, Songaila, AND a first-rounder to get Kobe. Ridiculous.

On the flip side, if the deal were Gil and, say, DeShawn straight up for Kobe, then we're talking. (I know that probably doesn't work on the trade calculator. Don't hate, Ok?) Daniels plays the point, and life is good. LA would benefit from just getting rid of Kobe the Cancer, and new surroundings in DC could do him some good. I think it's fair. LA gets a near-superstar and a solid starter in return. Think about Kobe starting next to Tough Juice. I like.

Finally, Gil is not the leader in the locker room, he is the class clown. That's an important role, to be sure, but it's not like you can't afford to lose the class clown. Losing Caron or Antawn would be a bigger hit to chemistry. Shipping Gil and DeShawn out together would make them both more comfortable with the deal. They could continue their hijinks in Hollywood.

The more I think about this, the more I like it.

Posted by: GKC | October 19, 2007 10:04 AM

I'm all for shipping Gilby out of here. I can't think of a team that's won a championship with a shoot first point guard who's going to be the highest paid on the team, but does not want to be the leader.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 19, 2007 10:16 AM

I'm all for shipping DC Man88 out of here. I can't think of a blog that maintains fan interest with a childish, vulgar, idiotic poster who doesn't know sh*t about hoops and can't seem to say anything that doesn't involve hating on the team's best player

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2007 10:23 AM

In fact, feel free to throw in Nick Young. Gil, DeShawn, and Little Nicky for Kobe. YES! DO IT! (Just no draft picks, please.) I know it's just a dream. Don't hate, OK?

Posted by: GKC | October 19, 2007 10:25 AM

"I'm all for shipping DC Man88 out of here. I can't think of a blog that maintains fan interest with a childish, vulgar, idiotic poster who doesn't know sh*t about hoops and can't seem to say anything that doesn't involve hating on the team's best player

Posted by: | October 19, 2007 10:23 AM "


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

With Gilby being the team's "best player," that's a sure fire indicator that Les BouleS is one sorry team. I guess that's been proven the past few playoffs.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 19, 2007 10:30 AM

BTW, "best player" doesn't mean most valuable player. What did Gilby do last season, along with AJ, while Caron was out?

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 19, 2007 10:31 AM

Your Kwame memories are mixed up. Facts:

1st game: 35 minutes, 13 pts, 9 rebounds, 2 assists. ... very good, especially for Kwame.

2nd game: 21 minutes, 2 pts, 4 rebounds, 1 assist. ... mediocre ... the real Kwame showed up.

3rd game: not worth mentioning.

Use this url to see how see the boxscores of that playoff series: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/wizards/2005-05-02-kwame-brown-out_x.htm

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 19, 2007 11:32 AM

Yes, that's a heckuva first game. If you saw the second game, Kwame was yanked often and didn't get any consistent PT. Big men need time to get into the flow of the game b/c they don't handle the ball as much as little men.

Posted by: DC Man88 | October 19, 2007 12:37 PM

GKC,

There are many things to consider when making a trade. So if Kobe gets here... does he become captain. I don't think Antawn or Caron would appreciate that too much. And if you say that Kobe would allow Antawn and Caron to remain captains, with Kobe's infamous ego, I can assure you that wouldnt happen.

Kobe to DC would IMMEDIATELY kill all the chemistry the front office has been building over the past years and because of this fact, is the reason why I can guarantee you that Ernie wont even put out an offer.

Posted by: David | October 19, 2007 12:40 PM

"About 40% of Lithuanians and about 50% of Ukrainians are ethnic Russians..."

You are totally wrong, for sure we don't have any 40 percent of ethnic Russians!! We have many of them in our capital, but not in all country!!!

Posted by: Lithuanian Guy | October 19, 2007 6:38 PM

Oh, also, i have one question, who of your stars won't play today? Arenas, who else? Or all will play?

Posted by: Lithuanian Guy | October 19, 2007 6:39 PM

I have to agree with the Lithuanian Guy, Prozak is completely wrong - only 5.1% in LT are ethnic Russians. In fact, it is a common misconception people fall into, presumably because of their geographical proximity to Russia and past Soviet occupation.

Anyway, for those of you that did not get to see the game at the arena, it was quite a lively preseason game despite the half empty stadium. The atmosphere was vibrant with Lithuanian fans chanting, singing and waving flags. The local fans were totally swamped by the sea of green.. It seemed like half of the city of Kaunas was there! It was not a home court for Wizards any more. Zalgiris was not playing their best game but the feeling definitely made it worth while. It was truly a unique experience. I would like to see some more games like this.

Posted by: bball4ever | October 20, 2007 2:25 AM

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