Utah Jazz notes: Kirilenko: Russia vs. Spain a big win
Madrid, Spain » From the moment he saw the locker room where he celebrated with the Russian national team in 2007, Andrei Kirilenko was surrounded Wednesday by the memories of his greatest basketball accomplishment.
Back at the Palacio de Deportes, Kirilenko reflected on Russia's 60-59 upset of Spain to win the European championships. Kirilenko was named tournament MVP as Russia captured its first title in 22 years.
"It's a huge memory," Kirilenko said, adding: "Those feelings kind of flashed back a little bit. I think we did a pretty good job in the final. We kind of forced Spain to play our game and kind of slowed them down."
Kirilenko did not dispute one reporter's suggestion that Spain would have won nine of the 10 times the teams had played.
He congratulated Pau Gasol and Spain on their 2009 championship and said Russia's victory was his career highlight so far.
"It's achievement which you can brag the whole [of] your life," said Kirilenko, ranking it higher than his All-Star selection with the Jazz.
Kirilenko also was asked about the possibility of returning to Europe when his contract with the Jazz expires in two seasons.
"We'll see how it goes with the Jazz," Kirilenko said, "because in a perfect world, I want to finish my career in the Jazz."
Although he's sat out both of the Jazz's preseason games, Kyle Korver said he's making progress in his return from an inflamed left knee.
"I'm not super worried about it," Korver said. "It feels way better than it did a week ago. And so I feel like if I keep doing what we're doing, eventually it'll be all right."
Korver has tried various sleeves and tapings to help with the inflammation. If it had to happen, he would rather it be in the beginning of the season than later on.
"We've had a lot of people look at the MRI and had a lot of different opinions on it and everyone thinks that it's something that was just super inflamed," Korver said. "They said once it goes down, it should be OK."
Deron Williams acknowledged the toll that the Jazz's European trip has taken: "It took me about a quarter to warm up [Tuesday] before I even felt like I could feel my legs." ... A crowd of 15,000 is expected for tonight's game, which will be Real Madrid's fourth ever against an NBA team. ... General manager Kevin O'Connor said the ruptured ligament C.J. Miles suffered in his left thumb is almost identical to an injury Paul Millsap suffered in May 2008.
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