Substantive reports of the Clips' Russia trip have been as difficult to find as the inside of a matryoshka doll. Here's what we've been able to learn:
- Euroleague powerhouse CSKA Moscow destroyed the Clippers on Saturday, 94-75, behind former Duke standout and pre-LeBron Cavalier, Trajan Langdon, and Greek national/World Champion, Theodoros Papaloukas.
- The Clips fared better the previous night against CSKA rival, BC Khimki, beating the Moscow JV, 98-91 in "a game that felt more like a romp than the final score indicated."
- The Los Angeles Times assigned foreign correspondent, David Holley, to cover the Clippers' visit to Moscow. Holley is a terrific reporter who has covered post-Soviet Russia brilliantly, everything from H.I.V. in Russia to the threat of Islamic extremism in the former republics. In other words, in covering Ryan Humphries's crash course in Berlitz Russian, Holley was clearly slumming.
- NBA.com dispatched Johannes Berendt to Russia to blog the visit, and Berendt generally did a nice job. According to Berendt from the CMSK game, "The Clippers shot just 39 percent from the field in the first half. According to the official stats, they have had exactly zero assists thus far."
Word is that if you want assists in Moscow, you have to score them on the black market.
So far as the Khimki game, Berendt reported, "The fans loved to see Kaman battling it out with former Dallas center [Khimki's 7-foot-5 Pavel] Podkolzin down low."
From Holley's Saturday piece in the Times:
"Kaman looks like a child versus Podkolzin," Alexander Artyukh, 25, a financial analyst, said at halftime.
[Chris Kaman gets some styling tips from Moscow's urbane merchant class]
- Also from Holley's piece:
"It is a business trip, this is training camp for us," Cassell said. "I won't be out doing the whole tour thing. We're here to win. We're not here just to enjoy the country of Russia."
Oh, lighten up, Sam. Nobody enjoys the country of Russia. It's just a lot of beige food, cigarette smoke and guys dressed in ghetto track suits. It's a place dripping in national irony. Live it up.
- There's a bit more basketball in this notes file from Berendt. Berendt got to visit with Ralph Lawler. According to Ralph:
"One of the guys who has made a giant stride is Q Ross who was a terrific defensive stopper for the team a year ago. It looks like he has more confidence offensively that he has had in the past. He has gotten stronger. Very similar body type to Shaun Livingston who also is bigger and stronger. Chris Kaman is a young big guy who is going to make a big stride this year."
Clipperblog is an unabashed gloablist and strongly supports these It's-a-Small-World drum sessions for the L. Having said that, he looks forward to the October 17 preseason matchup against PHX during which we can better size up what kind of October Manifesto we're looking at.