RIGA, Latvia– This weekly segment follows the fortunes of three Baltic players plying their trade in the world’s biggest basketball league – the NBA
WEEK ONE: December 12 2010 – December 19 2010
Linas Kleiza (NBA: Toronto Raptors)
Last week’s predictions of seeing Linas Kleiza taking a starting berth in the not to distant future came to fruition sooner than expected.
While his team as a whole continues to struggle, Kleiza’s star continues to grow. His week began in earnest, featuring off the bench in losses to Charlotte (97-91) and Chicago (110-93), claiming nine and four points respectively.
But handed his first start of the season against New Jersey at home on Friday, Kleiza was not about to let the opportunity pass, claiming 18 points and 12 rebounds in 45 minutes of game time in what was a rare win for Toronto (98-92).
Kleiza was rewarded for his good work on Friday, being handed a starting berth again on Sunday when the Raptors took on the LA Lakers. Again the faith was repaid as Kleiza claimed his second double-double in as many game, with 26 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes. It was also just his second double-double of the season, making him current hot property in the NBA.
Andris Biedrins (NBA: Golden State Warriors)
Just when it looked like Biedrins and the Warriors were about to turn a corner in their season disaster struck with Biedrins injuring his ankle during his side’s 108-99 win over Minnesota on Wednesday. Biedrins claimed seven points and 12 points in his side’s win but picked up the injury along the way that saw him sitting out games against Portland and Houston.
It is hoped Biedrins will be back into action in the week leading up to Christmas.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (NBA: Miami Heat)
It was another successful week for the 14 season veteran as he again proved to be a dynamic cog in the makeup on the on fire Miami Heat who is finally living up to their name.
Miamiwent another week without losing, winning all four of their match ups with Ilgauskas starting at centre in every game.
While his minutes may not be as flash as come of the younger centers plying their trade in the NBA, Ilgauska’s work ethic while on court still impresses.
During the week he averaged 16.75 minutes in which time he was able to grab an average of six rebounds and three points. In a side that features two of the biggest scorers in the NBA, these figures should not be underestimated.