Even though the Clippers might be used to traveling eastwards, the first trip of the season certainly is a special one. NBA Europe Live has brought them all the way to Moscow in the heart of the former Soviet Union. From Sept. 30 to Oct. 8, Elton Brand and Co. will stage their training camp in the famous Russian capital. They also take on European giants BC Khimki (October 6) and CSKA Moscow (October 7) in the Universal Sports Hall before flying home one day later.
More Europe Live Blogs: Barcelona (Sixers) | Lyon (Spurs) | Treviso (Suns)

Here's the latest from NBA.com's Johannes Berendt, who is traveling with the Clippers.

Do cvidaniya!
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 3:48 p.m. ET

Now this is what you have been waiting for. Spiegel Online explains a German obsession and gives you the lowdown on all the different brands of beer. Definitely useful in a country where seven beer equal a meal!

Meanwhile, the Spurs defeated the Rockets to become the first European NBA champion. Not on the court though, but as part of the EA Sports Gaming Tournament which yesterday culminated in Cologne. The lucky winner is going to Las Vegas. Boris Diaw´s most favourite player in NBA Live 07? Steve Nash…

Do cvidaniya!
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 3:48 p.m. ET

Well, that´s it from Moscow. The Clippers are catching an early flight back to California. They won´t be seeing too many airports in the next weeks. Two trips to Phoenix and one to Utah is all they have on their schedule until November 25.

Visiting Moscow has been a great experience for everyone involved. Our thanks go out to all members of staff who have made this trip a successful one. Just don´t ask anyone about the traffic. It certainly is scary...don´t miss our latest postcards.

Do cvidaniya!

It's Over
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 2:33 p.m. ET

Believe it or not. Cassell and Mobley both dished out a team-high of one assist. It was that kind of a day for the Clippers, who just got back from a reception with the US Ambassador.

We´ve got the post-game quotes for you.

Elton Brand: " It is early for us but we have a lot of work to do. We want to congratulate them for playing a great game. We knew exactly what they could do and unfortunately for us, they did it today."

On meeting Papaloukas ("This is a big moment for CSKA"), who played an integral role in Greece´s triumph over the U.S. in Japan:

"It was definitely a flashback. He really distributes the ball so well. He is a great player."

And Coach Dunleavy added:

"Some of our players are not in condition yet. It was good for us to play them. It tells us how far away we are right now.

"CSKA played extremely well. We knew it would be tough and there was no way we took them lightly. We knew about their success in the Euroleague. We were not able to stop them."

It's Over
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 10:31 a.m. ET

It´s over. CSKA hammered the Clippers 94-75. Moscow had six players in double figures, most notably Trajan Langdon (17 points, seven rebounds). Nothing really went the visitors´ way. Poor execution, poor team play, tired legs. Time to get back to sunny California where they will continue training camp in Santa Barbara.

Maggette scored 13 for the Clippers…they had just two assists, a figure that does not compare well to Moscow´s 17 (!).

We´ll be back with quotes…

There He Is
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 10:20 a.m. ET

Korolev checking in with a little under three minutes to go. Too late to do any damage…

On to the Fourth
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 10:10 a.m. ET

Still 15 points between the two teams. Hard to see the Clippers staging a late comeback. They are pretty sloppy, committing too many turnovers and missing a lot of open shots

On to the Fourth
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 10:00 a.m. ET

Dunleavy has not been rotating much. Thomas, Livingston and Maggette (plus the starters) have seen most all of the playing time. That´s a great rotation for the season - but not for tonight. CSKA get too many easy baskets. 73-57 with 12 minutes left on the clock.

Where is Yaroslav, by the way?

Rockin' in Moscow
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 9:45 a.m. ET

"We will rock you." CSKA´s fans are having a good time. Their troops just opened a 20-point lead. The Clippers look tired. It´s been a tough week in Moscow. But a 7-0 run has put them back into striking distance. Well, sort of.

Assist Me!
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 9:32 a.m. ET

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. They do in fact look a bit rusty. It has not been the best team effort.

Here´s the first one then - Cassell just dished it out to Mobley for a layer, but CKSA is leading by 14.

At the Half
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 9:19 a.m. ET

Looks like there is some work left for Brand and Co -- 3-pointers from Langdon and Ponkrashov as well as a dunk from Papaloukas have given CSKA a 52-39 lead at the break. Both Kaman and Brand have three fouls...

Heating Up
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 9:12 a.m. ET

From hero to goat. Center Vandenspiegel scored a nice layer against Kaman but airballed the free-throw. Russian talent Anton Ponkrashov is turning it on now - eight points for the youngster, eight-point lead for CSKA.

CSKA Leads
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 9:06 a.m. ET

Three-point lead for the home team. Dunleavy´s starters are back on the court…no sign of Korolev yet.

Debut for Thomas
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 8:30 a.m. ET

Tim Thomas just made his official debut for the Clips´ - just to get blocked on his first possession. Is that a bad sign? Probably not as he bounced back with a nice three-point play.

21-20 for CSKA at the end of the first…

Game Time
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 8:30 a.m. ET

Two 3-pointers and a dunk - CSKA have set the pace early. Quick foul trouble for Mobley, too. Livingston has already replaced him.

It´s Cassell versus Papaloukas now...CSKA up 14-7.

Busy Day
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 8:15 a.m. ET

David Stern spoke to the Russian press before tip-off. Did you know the Larry O'Brien Trophy was the heaviest of all his trophies? The Commissioner also visited the Red Square this morning for a quick photo shoot.

And there he is - Sam Cassell is starting instead of Shaun Livingston. Q Ross is also taking Maggette´s place in the first team.

The fans are chanting "CSKA, CSKA" - they have a much stronger following than BC Khimki.

Tougher Test
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 7, 2006, 6:32 a.m. ET

A big hello and welcome everyone from the Universal Sports Hall. Tonight's battle with European Giants CSKA will spell the highlight of the Clippers' trip to Russia. Neither team had problems putting aside BC Khimki, but today should be a different story. CSKA has been in training camp for four weeks, while the Clippers are just starting to get their act together. Should be very interesting.

The local fans are hoping to see Sam Cassell in action after he was rested yesterday. Sam's face is known all round the world…

When a funny Russian journalist yesterday asked Dunleavy whether the Clippers really had a chance of beating CSKA , the coach (much to the delight of everyone in the room) joked: "I am not sure that is really possible." Needless to say, he has set his sights on a win.

David Stern will be in attendance after arriving in Russia this morning.

Good Start
MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 5:33 p.m. ET

So the Clippers got their preseason off to a winning start. They had all starters (Livingston, Brand, Kaman, Maggette and Mobley) in double figures. With Cassell being rested, Livingston made the most of his playing time by putting up 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting. He also had five assists. Maggette appeared to be in good shape, too.

Cassell, Tim Thomas and Aaron Williams are all "a bit banged up" but will hopefully be able to play against CSKA, Dunleavy said.

The fans loved to see Kaman battling it out with former Dallas center Podkolzin down low. "He is definitely a big guy," Kaman told us after the match. "He is big and strong. You have to try and not let him get the ball deep in the paint otherwise he can do a good job of scoring there."

And Dunleavy added: "You only have a couple of guys that are that big, like Shaq and Yao Ming. I thought Pavel played pretty well. He scored the ball better than last night but Kaman played well for us. He is a big part of why we won the game tonight."

21-year-old Podkolzin, who appeared in six games for the Mavs between 2004 and 2006, notched nine points, while Kaman had 17.

Some further notes:

- The Clippers turned the ball over just once in the second half compared to ten times in the first period.

- Corey Maggette pulled down seven rebounds in the second half and looked strong on the drive to the hoop.

We´ll be back for the big game on Saturday night.

Clippers Win
MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 2:39 p.m. ET

Ewing and Livingston, who finished with a game-high 19 points, saved their best for last - a nice alley-oop pleased the crowd in the final minute.

Khimki´s comeback came too late to do any damage. They came within five points with nine seconds left but the Clippers cruised to an uncontested 98-91 win.

We´ll be back with quotes…

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 2:27 p.m. ET

Not few expect Chris Kaman to take his game to the next level this season. He appears to be in pretty good shape (17 points).

One thing is for sure - Podkolzin will be a major fan darling in Moscow in his first year since his return from Dallas. The giant has entertained the crowd with nine points thus far.

Khimki just pulled within eight but a baseline jumper from Q Ross sealed the deal.

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 2:23 p.m. ET

It does not look as if Khimki will ever get close again. It´s a 14-point deficit with 7:28 to go. But here´s a good reason to cheer - the Russian giant is back.

Ewing and rookie Jawad Williams are logging some minutes early in he fourth.

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 2:07 p.m. ET

Not much playing time for Korolev thus far. Tomorrow is the bigger day for him anyway.

There´s not so much to cheer on for the Khimki fans. Their team is not getting any closer. 74-61 after three quarters.

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 1:57 p.m. ET

Poor Oscar Torres. That´s probably why the former Houston Rockets guard is playing in Europe these days. He just missed an open reverse dunk on an uncontested breakaway.

The Clippers have all starters in double figures now. 67-54.

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 1:39 p.m. ET

Dunleavy´s starters are back on the court. It´s Kaman versus Podkolzin again.

Lots of fans have been wondering about Sam Cassell, who is probably being rested for tomorrow´s clash with CSKA. "He´s a special weapon," one passionate Russian basketball expert told us.

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 1:20 p.m. ET

Paul Davis is battling Pokolzin now. Good defense on both ends - the rookie stripped the giant - only to get blocked on the next possession.

The Clippers are well in control throughout, taking a 51-42 lead into the break. Kaman has 10 points, Mobley and Maggette both have nine.

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 1:03 p.m. ET

The fans are enjoying the battle between Kaman and Podkolzin. When Dunleavy brought back his center, his even taller counterpart was ordered back, too. The crowd is loving it...

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 12:53 p.m. ET

Daniel Ewing running the show at the point now. Elton Brand just got blocked by Ruben Wolkowyski. Clippers still by eight.

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 12:43 p.m. ET

Korolev and Singleton were first to come off the bench for the Clippers.

There was an uproar when Russian giant Pavel Pokolzin backed up Kaman for the first time. That guy has big shoulders. He is officially listed at 7-5 and netted the jump hook against Kaman.

Livingston beat the clock with a layer to make it 30-23 at the end of the first.

MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 12:27 p.m. ET

Maggette is off to a good start with seven early points. Just like yesterday, Khimki is struggling to hit the open shot. They have already wasted a few good looks. 13-10 Clippers at the first time-out.

Game Time
MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 12:22 p.m. ET

The fans are politely backing the home team. This place is not really rocking yet except for Khimki scoring or Maggette shooting free-throws. It´s 7-7 after three minutes.

Court Report
MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 12:17 p.m. ET

Elgin Baylor has been having "a great time in Russia". He is sitting courtside with his wife. "The players are very excited about this," he told us. "It is a great experience for all of us."

Moscow native Yaroslav Korolev received a warm welcome form his home crowd during the introductions. v Shaun Livingston got the nod over Sam Cassell as the starting point guard, with Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette and Cuttino Mobley also in the starting line-up. Livingston started in just 14 games last season but should see more playing time this year out.

Khimki got trashed by CSKA yesterday when they were humiliated in the third quarter…

Roster Moves
MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 11:44 a.m. ET

Tim Thomas´ debut might be delayed as he is listed doubtful with a sore lower back. Apart from that, all players are available for selection.

Pregame Report
MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 11:33 a.m. ET


The Clippers receive full media coverage in Russia.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Greetings from the Universal Sports Hall. The Clippers are about to hit the floor for the warm-ups. It should be a fun night out. A sell-out crowd of 5,000 fans is expected. Elton Brand said the building reminded him of a college arena, and Sam Cassell has called the place “neat and small”. It surely will be loud.

The Russian press has been full with coverage of the Clippers´ trip. How´s your Russian?

Until tip-off, check out Matt Pinto´s season preview at clippers.com.

Honoring a Legend
MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 10:15 a.m. ET


Today was a day to remember Alexander Gomelsky.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

In a moving ceremony, Russian basketball honored one of the game´s greatest minds, Alexander Gomelsky. High-rank military and basketball officials today attended the memorial plaque unveiling in front of the Universal Sports Hall. The former CSKA coach and president, who also led his national team to the Olympic gold medal in 1988, died of cancer in August 2005. His prolific coaching career spanned six decades during which he accumulated countless of national and international titles.

Warming Hearts
MOSCOW, Oct. 6 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 6, 2006, 6:19 a.m. ET

The Clippers further enhanced their community involvement on Thursday afternoon. One group went to Khimki for a clinic, while Tim Thomas, Q Ross, Aaron Williams, Ryan Humphrey and James Singleton visited the Institute for Pediatric Oncology to play with the children.

"It makes them so happy because they are here for such a long time, about seven or eight months," one doctor told us. The Institute has done a magnificent job - 80 percent of the young patients can be cured. This is a significant rise from before the division's launch in 1976 when only ten percent were treated successfully.

The visit of five tall (and warm-hearted) basketball players surely made the kids' day. Rick Barry was handing out sweets, and the guests (along with WNBA star Taj McWilliams-Franklin) chatted, joked and played with the youngsters. They were even in for a round of table soccer. One look into the eyes of this kid and you know what it was like!

"It is just a blessing to see a smile on their faces," Thomas said.

Our special greetings go out to the two lovely ladies who have been following the blog from their homes in Moscow! Spasiba for helping to make the hospital visit a success.


Tim Thomas brings a smile to a child's face.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Korolev, Kaman, Ewing, Paul Davis, Jawad Williams and Dawan Robinson staged the clinic in Khimki.

Less than six hours until tip-off. We´ll be checking in from the arena shortly.

Beauty Contest
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 5:33 p.m. ET

Let´s hope this will not cause some disruption within the Clippers´ camp.

Earlier today, we told you about Paul Davis´ enormous popularity among female Russian fans. It was not without shock that Elton Brand heard about the news.

"I feel snubbed," he raged.

"I thought I might not have the Russian looks but I could still pull it out. I thought they would vote for Yarik, you know, home town." Way off the mark.

The humiliated power forward was clearly looking at the bright side of things.

"But I am married, so I don´t have to impress any ladies any more."

Check out the training camp notes to see now Davis is getting along.

Setting the Stage for Saturday
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 2:55 p.m. ET

Khimki might serve as a perfect preparational opponent for Dunleavy´s troops tomorrow. It is kind of the team you want to face in your preseason opener. Tough enough to give you a good game but a long way from unbeatable - if only the Clippers can shake off their physical exhaustion following six hard days in camp. It will also set the stage nicely for Saturday´s clash with CSKA, who looked in pretty good shape.

It was a well-balanced act in the first half before the Red Army turned it on in the third quarter, destroying their opponent 36-8. Greek guard Theodoros Papaloukas proved inspirational once again by gently dictating the pace. He didn´t even have to score much - getting the ball to his teammates (nine assists) sufficed.

Let´s take a look at how our American friends fared. Langdon finished with 12 points (two from three from behind the arc), David Vanterpool had nine, and Pittsburgh native J. R. Holden (11) does not count because he holds Russian citizenship now. Booker netted a game-high 17, Wolkowyski (played for Seattle) had 11, just as Torres. Former Tarheel Ademola Okulaja had two points for Khimki.

They're shutting down the lights here, so we´ll head back to the hotel to give you an update from the Clippers.

Late in the Game
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 2:27 p.m. ET

94-78 after four quarters. Khimki appear to be a far cry away from threatening CSKA´s domestic hegemony. They must get tired of losing to their neighbours, who also defeated them in the league and cup final this year.

Booker led all scorers with 17 points, while Belgian center Tomas van den Spiegel poured in 14 for the hosts.

Papaloukas Can Play
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 2:19 p.m. ET

Watching Papaloukas pushing the ball up the court has something to it. This guy is, without a doubt, the heart and the soul of CSKA. He only got four points to his name but boasts impressive leadership skills. And boy, can he dish it out (eight assists).

It´s 85-68 now.

In Control
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 2:05 p.m. ET

Now that was quick. 49-47, 61-47, 71-51, 78-53.

With Khimki producing turnover after turnover, Papaloukas smoothly took control without scoring much himself. Khimki managed more turnovers than points (8) in the third quarter.

We had a male winner of the fan dance contest (not Dunleavy) but probably only because the third and last entry, a Russian lady, was too shy and backed off. Still, we agree with the crowd. This cool guy was a deserving winner.

Player Background
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 1:40 p.m. ET

Yaroslav Korolev is back in his former stomping grounds, shaking hands with plenty of old mates. The forward grew up in Moscow and played for CSKA in the juniors.

My Russian colleagues are telling me that Langdon is the best three-point shooter in this country, and he proved them right by scoring five quick points after the break.

At the Half
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 1:30 p.m. ET

Khimki regained control behind some strong play from Melvin Booker, who finished the half with 12 points, to take a 45-42 lead into the half.

Time for some entertainment! A Russian military band is performing a fun (and classy) music act. We´re wondering whether Dunleavy will hit the dance floor again.

"I´m too old to dance," he told us after yesterday´s visit to the orphanage. "Too old to do Russian dancing anyway."

Lead Changes
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 1:10 p.m. ET

Khimki used a quick 7-0 run to take a 28-26 lead before some early magic from Matjaz Smodis restored CSKA´s lead. The forward pleased the crowd with a rare four-point play.

I have no idea what the public address announcer is shouting in his microphone, but the Russian fans are certainly liking it…

Game Update
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 12:50 p.m. ET

CSKA are leading their cross-city rivals 26-21 at the end of the first quarter. Remember Theodoros Papaloukas, the Greek playmaker who shined at the FIBA World Championships in Asia? The tall point guard always comes off the bench for CSKA…former Mavs center Pavel Podkolzin looks huge in person. He started for Khimki to give them big presence under the basket.

NBA Europe Live Is Under Way in Russia!
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 12:28 p.m. ET

"This is what basketball is all about," Mike Dunleavy said seconds before tip-off in the Universal Sports Hall. "To bring people together through the sport of basketball. I want to thank BC Khimki and CSKA Moscow for being great hosts this week. We´ve had a wonderful time in your country, seeing a lot of famous sights, eating a lot of delicious food and making friendships that will last forever."

Russian basketball paid tribute to legendary coach and former CSKA president Alexander Gomelsky, who passed away in August 2005.

Trajan Langdon opened the scoring for CSKA with a three-pointer. The "Red Army" leads 9-8 at the first time-out.

Sightseeing With Kaman
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 11:36 a.m. ET

Kaman checks out the shops.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Greetings from the Universal Sports Hall. Less than 60 minutes from now, CSKA will hit the floor against city rivals Khimki.

The Clippers went through another work-out this morning before following up yesterday´s community involvement by visiting a children hospital and staging a shooting clinic. Lots of happy faces all over both places. One of the kids in the Institute for Pediatric Oncology ordered Aaron Williams to say hello to Michael Jordan. We´ll have more on this later.

Yesterday afternoon, Chris Kaman made another push for a future job as a cameraman when he was filming his sightseeing trip through Moscow. Don’t miss the entertaining shots in the Clippers Gallery.

Paul Davis: Ladies' Man
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 5, 2006, 1:25 a.m. ET


Get in line, ladies.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

He is beautiful. He is cute. He is a huge hit with female Russian fans.

And he is not Corey Maggette.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the best-looking player on the Clippers' roster is, according to the vast majority of our superb translating corps, Paul Davis.

“I was him once, I saw him twice and then I saw him again,” enthused one translator. “He is beautiful.”

We'll confront the center with his popularity later today at practice.

In the meantime, check out the Clippers homepage for some in-depth coverage of training camp. They got sounds, videos and photos from the most recent sessions in the Universal Sports Hall.

Want to know the chances of Chris Kaman getting cornrows?

Spreading Joy
MOSCOW, Oct. 4 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 4, 2006, 12:22 p.m. ET


Singleton and Korolev play with the children.
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty
Oh how much joy did they bring.

The Clippers teamed up with CSKA Moscow and BC Khimki to open a Reading and Learning Center at a Moscow orphanage.

Mike Dunleavy´s spectacular dance performance baffled the children and players in equal measures, but his gig has drawn different reviews among those who know about his knee problems. An elated Elton Brand was "proud" of his coach for looking so mobile, while Sam Cassell jokingly called the act "terrible".

Earlier in practice, Cuttino Mobley admitted that October was not a fun time for him. Coach Dunleavy also spoke about the summer improvements.

Read about the Clippers' trip to the orphanage

A Memorable Day
MOSCOW, Oct. 4 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 4, 2006, 8:32 a.m. ET

Busy day for the Clippers. We attended this morning's practice session and followed their charity visit to a local orphanage (NBA Cares). 135 children will never forget this day, and we'll tell you why.

Until we've got the report up, try to guess whom the female Russian fans consider the best looking player in town!

NBA TV and Elton
MOSCOW, Oct. 3 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 3, 2006, 11:18 a.m. ET


Brand took in the Russian scenery.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty
High up in the Moscow air, NBA TV caught up with Elton Brand for a special NBA Access feature. The star forward happily spoke about the time in Moscow and shared his thoughts about the upcoming season. Yaroslav Korolev also joined in to provide special sightseeing information. Want to know what the building behind Elton is?

Happy Birthday, Aaron
MOSCOW, Oct. 3 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 3, 2006, 8:33 a.m. ET

Here's another cake for you. Not quite the same, but still pretty cool.

The Clippers greeted Aaron Williams with a birthday serenade and a cake after their morning practice session.

"I can always say I celebrated my 35th birthday in Moscow," smiled the veteran.

"Not many people from the States can say that. With my birthday being October 2, I have celebrated my birthday in Italy, Greece and now Russia."

But there's a downside about being born during training camp.


Williams gets his birthday treat.
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty
"My birthday presents are two-a-days,” he added.

So what are his expectations for the new year after joining the Clippers from free agency?

"Hopefully I can bring a little bit of everything to the team. I don't really do one thing particularly the best. Just rebounds, couple of points, just to play hard and defense and help the team anywhere I can.

"The sky is the limit for us. Hopefully we won't be complacent because of what we did last year. We're trying to get off to a great start and keep it rolling."

Clipps Q & A
MOSCOW, Oct. 3 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 3, 2006, 4:09 a.m. ET

Good timing. Now that the chess masters' infamous toilet break row has been resolved, the Moscow Times dedicated half of their front page to the Clippers' arrival. Their big article carries a nice picture of hometown hero Yaroslav Korolev as he teams up with Elton Brand and Sam Cassell on Red Square. We´re still trying to find our way through the Russian papers.

Meanwhile, the Clippers took time out to answer your questions.

Shaun Livingston on his jump shot:

“I have definitely worked on that shot over the summer. It’s one of my key contributions on offense when I knock down the jumper, especially at the midrange which is a deadly spot, so that I can make myself an offensive threat.”

James Singleton on adding weight:

“I basically hit the weight room more – instead of being in there for three hours a day I was working out close to five hours a day. I probably put on about 15 pounds.”

Daniel Ewing on his tattoo:

“It’s a tattoo of a black panther. He has a ball in his hands and it has a goal in the background, so it’s like he’s putting the ball in the hoop. It says 'King of the Court.' This was one of my first tattoos.”

Sleepy Time
MOSCOW, Oct. 2 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 1, 2006, 2:26 p.m. ET

Day 2 has come to a close. No further jet lag problems are expected tonight - all 16 players should sleep nicely following another hard evening practice. We´ll be back tomorrow.

A Special Visit
MOSCOW, Oct. 2 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 1, 2006, 10:54 a.m. ET


Kaman shoots and ... scores some pictures from Moscow.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty
Time for a quick quiz? Who was the first Russian in the NBA?

You´re right, this honor goes to Sergei Bazarevich. Back in 1994-95, the guard, a major star and now a coach in his home country, appeared in 10 games for the Atlanta Hawks.

"It was a dream come true but unfortunately it did not last too long," the 41-year-old told us while watching the Clippers practice session.

Bazarevich played a superb FIBA World Championship in 1994 when he finished second only to Shaq in the MVP as Dream Team II hammered Russia 137-91 in the final.

The up-tempo guard got discovered and tried to defy the odds.

"At my time even Toni Kukoc was complaining that some treated Europeans like rookies. When I came over I was 29 - I must have been one of the oldest rookies in history. Nobody thought the level here was good enough but it was not that bad. Now it is absolutely different."

Bazarevich, who has developed close ties with the Clippers, is thrilled for his countrymen to get a first-hand look at the NBA stars.

"Today it is not like it was years ago," he vowed. "People can always watch NBA TV but still to see them live is great.

"I think the Clippers will be having a hard time playing against CSKA."

17-Year Difference
MOSCOW, Oct. 2 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 2, 2006, 8:45 a.m. ET

Give this guy a rest! Ever since their arrival to Russia, the Clippers have been pelting Moscow native Yaroslav Korolev with all sorts of questions about his city, the culture and the language.

However, it looks as if the tour guide has been unable to meet all demands.

"I keep asking him but he does not know all the buildings," Chris Kaman moaned. The center is one tough tourist to please. He has brought his camera to "make sure" he gets memories of his first trip to Europe.

Sam Cassell has not been listening to the youngster anyway. "He does not know what I like," Sam told us. "I am 36 and he is 19!"

Press Conference
MOSCOW, Oct. 2 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 2, 2006, 8:45 a.m. ET

Just a short lunch break for Mike Dunleavy and Elton Brand. While their teammates were taken back to the hotel to rest ahead of the evening training, the duo joined representatives from Khimki and CSKA at a press conference in the Soviet Army History Museum.

"It is a great honour for the Clippers to be part of the Europe Live Tour", Dunleavy told the Russian media. "For us to have the opportunity to be the first NBA team to play in Russia is a great experience. "It is a great start of the season for us to have a chance to train here and prepare. We hope to give them a good game and hope our fans from Russia will help us."

And EB added: "It´s an honour and a privilege for the Clippers to be the first NBA team to play in Russia. I know how great their basketball is because I play FIBA and international basketball. "CSKA have been wonderful hosts. They have treated us very well. I am glad to be here and the team is glad to be here."

Training Camp: Day 2
MOSCOW, Oct. 2 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 2, 2006, 2:08 a.m. ET

The Clippers were up early on a chilly Monday morning to start the second day of training camp in the Universal Sport Hall. They looked determined to get some work done when they walked into the gym.

Should anyone need a break, they better not duplicate the strategy of Russian grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik, whose permanent lavatory escapes have put the world chess championships in danger. It's a big story over here, with the English-language Moscow Times carrying it on their front page.

Mobley Makes Appearance
MOSCOW, Oct. 1 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 1, 2006, 3:54 p.m. ET


Mobley pleases fans with autographs.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty
Right after practice, Cuttino Mobley visited the famous GUM Building on Red Square to stop for an autograph session at Intersport. Needless to say, he received a warm welcome from the young audience before happily posing for pictures.

That´s it for today from Moscow. We´ll be back tomorrow with the latest from the Clippers´ camp as well as quotes from CSKA and Khimki.

Sam Already in Prime Shape
MOSCOW, Oct. 1 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 1, 2006, 12:35 p.m. ET

You knew it would happen. You knew it would be funny when NBA.com blogger Sam Cassell squared it off with the Russian media? Here´s a personal best-of.

Q: "How often do you shave your head?"

SC: "Oh, I shave my head every two days. Every two days I shave my head. Every two days will be a hair-cut-day."

Q: "Have you brought your two championship rings?"

SC: "Nooo - they are back home."

Q: "What is Hakeem Olajuwon doing these days?"

SC: "He is rich. He is a very wealthy man. Whatever he is doing, he is a very wealthy man. I don´t know what he is doing. I know he is very, very wealthy."

Yaroslav the Tour Guide
MOSCOW, Oct. 1 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 1, 2006, 10:54 a.m. ET


Korolev is L.A.'s resident Russian expert.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty
The first training session of the new season is over. Check out our notebook to see what was going on in the camp today.

We caught up with homecoming hero Yaroslav Korolev, who grew up in Moscow, and -- according to Sam Cassell -- has been a much-consulted city guide thus far.

"I have been telling them that Russia is very different and they see it by themselves," he revealed following a lengthy chat with the Russian media. "The ways, the streets, the buildings, the city - everything is different.

"For example, in Los Angeles you have downtown and then you´ve got neighbourhoods but here downtown is everywhere. There are big buildings everywhere and then you´ve got the Kremlin in the middle of the city."

Korolov enjoyed to be back in his former stomping grounds.

"I am excited," he smiled. "Just coming back here is great - I used to practice in this gym all the time when I was with CSKA."

The second-year forward hopes this season will be his break-through year after appearing in 24 games during his rookie year.

"Of course I have to develop," he stated. "This will be one of the seasons where I have to make the steps so I will do my best."

Sunday Sights
MOSCOW, Oct. 1 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 1, 2006, 6:21 a.m. ET


Just your average day in Red Square.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty

It was a quiet Sunday morning in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral - but only until the Clippers arrived! As soon as they got off the bus to pose for the team photos, they were immediately surrounded by tourists, fans and Russian photographers. Funny what a difference a basketball team can make, but then again, it´s not that often that you'll meet Sam Cassell on the Red Square.

As you might have guessed, his face is well-known in this part of the world. "Man, I'm big in Russia," Sam smiled when tourists asked him for a quick picture. It goes without saying that he granted all autograph requests with his trademark smile.

Yaroslav Korolev was enjoying his homecoming appearance as he teamed up with Cassell and Elton Brand for a few individual shots set up by NBA photographers Nathaniel S. Butler and Jennifer Pottheiser. They took some great pictures which we'll show you later in the gallery.

After the quick ten-minute session, the team hopped on the bus again to practice in the Universal Sports Hall.

Room Service
MOSCOW, Oct. 1 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 1, 2006, 4:30 a.m. ET


An extravagant late-night snack.
Johannes Berendt/NBAE/Getty

What a pleasant surprise late at night! Just when I was about to call it a day, I discovered this gorgeous cake in my room. I managed to take a quick picture before it fell victim to my enormous hunger. Oh what a lousy photographer I am - the best review I've gotten thus far was "pathetic." Thinking about it again, the cake was probably too nice to eat despite the poor quality of the photo.

Clippers Arrive
MOSCOW, Sept. 30 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on September 30, 2006, 5:52 p.m. ET

The Clippers are in town! They touched ground shortly after 11 pm local time and arrived at the hotel shortly afterwards.

Chris Kaman made sure he would not miss a single minute of his first trip to Russia, carefully filming the midnight check-in with his video camera. He might want to seek a second career at NBA TV once his playing days are over.

“I brought my camera,” he said after disembarking the bus. “It will be very interesting. I´ve never been here before.”

Kaman admitted the long flight all the way from Los Angeles to Frankfurt and then on to Russia has left him “a little tired”. However, “internet and movies” helped to kill time on the plane. He also managed to catch a shut eye for a few hours.

The center is not the only Moscow rookie – it will be a similar experience for Cuttino Mobley and Elgin Baylor.

“I'm looking forward to the culture,” said the Cat. “But we´re here to work hard.”

Both quickly joined their teammates for a mouth-watering buffet high up in the Moscow air. It should help cope with the jet-lag. After all, Sunday will be a working day for them, and a hard one.

But coming off their best season in ages, it won´t be hard to find the right motivation.

“I think we will enter the season with a little bit more enthusiasm because we played so well last year,” said GM Elgin Baylor, who has brought 16 players to Russia. Zeljko Rebraca missed out on the trip due to a back injury.

Moscow, by the way, is just the latest stop for Elton Brand, who has been traveling all over the world in the past months. China, Japan, Canada, California and Russia were among his destinations. The LA Times tried to break down his airmiles.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-dwyre27sep27,1,4527705.column?coll=la-utilities-sports

-- Los Angeles Times (Reg. req´d)

The Clippers' Ship
MOSCOW, Sept. 30 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on September 30, 2006, 1:28 p.m. ET

After a quick stop in Frankfurt, Germany, the Clippers are back in the air and less than two hours away from Moscow.

Head coach Mike Dunleavy and GM Elgin Baylor, the 2005-06 NBA executive of the year, might leave Russia with a special gift - a new contract. According to the LA Times, both could ink new deals in the next days.
-- Los Angeles Times (Reg. req'd)

The Red Square
MOSCOW, Sept. 30 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on September 30, 2006, 7:20 a.m. ET


A typical scene in the crowded Red Square.
Johannes Berendt/NBAE/Getty Images
It´s still a few hours until the Clippers hit ground. Time enough for a quick trip to the famous Red Square. For many St. Basil´s Cathedral is the ultimate symbol of Russia. Lots of history and impressive architecture. Too much for just 60 minutes, so I'm glad we'll be back tomorrow when the Clippers are scheduled to do a photoshoot. It's not as warm as yesterday, though, with the cold breeze giving you a rough idea of how freezing it can get during wintertime.

It's a busy Saturday morning, and there's lots of activity going on. We counted at least three wedding couples (in ten minutes) who were posing all over the place. One of the most popular spots appears to be just outside the north entrance of the Red Square. Every 10 seconds, someone else (like the guy with the red jacket) steps inside the circle, flips a coin over his shoulder and makes a wish. I'm sure it will work out for this freshly-married couple.

The Clippers must be somewhere over the Atlantic by now – we´ll be back once they arrive. Time to talk about basketball.

Until then, homecomer Yaroslav Korolev believes his Russian countrymen will like Chris Kaman because of his looks.

To Russia, With Love?
MOSCOW, Sept. 29 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on September 29, 2006, 5:30 p.m. ET

Privet iz Moskvi! Hello from Moscow. It won't be long and the LA Clippers will be in town to kick off the new season in the very heart of Russia.

October is a great time to visit the historic capital. The weather is still nice, and the temperatures are nowhere near the freezing regions Moscow is famed and feared for. Let's hope our friends from L.A. have not just brought winter clothes. The first snow won't fall before the end of the month.

Mike Dunleavy's squad are expected to touch ground on Saturday night at 10:35 p.m. local time, which is 2:35 p.m. Eastern. Once they've cleared immigrations, they will be taken to the hotel where a lovely midnight buffet will be set up for them. The same trip took me two hours today because of the enormous traffic in town.

Driving in Russia is adventurous. Our driver managed to go 60 miles per hour in the city. He slammed the breaks just once, which I guess is pretty good for an average trip through town.

The busiest man in the next days could be Pete Serrano, who is carrying the can for the Clippers.

Anyway, we're here for basketball. City rivals BC Khimki and CSKA Moscow will cross swords with the Clippers on Oct. 6 and 7 after a few hard training camp days. It won't just be fun for Elton Brand, Sam Cassell and their team-mates on the training camp roster.