Tag:Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Posted on: March 25, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 4:31 pm

Infection made Ilgauskas' foot double in size

Miami Heat center Zydrunas Ilgauskas suffered an infection that reportedly caused his foot to double in size. Posted by Ben Golliver. zydrunas-ilgauskas

Warning: this post is almost as disgusting as a Chris Bosh photo shoot. 

Miami Heat center Zydrunas Ilgauskas told the Heat Index that his recent foot injury, which has sidelined him since March 10, was caused by a strange infection made his foot swell up like a balloon.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas thought he had a blister on his foot and didn't pay close attention to it. But when he showed up for a game and the foot was twice its normal size and redness was moving up his leg, Miami Heat team doctors sent him to the emergency room.
What followed were a scary couple of days when Ilgauskas learned he had a type of strep infection and perhaps even the dangerous and antibiotic-resistant strain known as MRSA. He said he and the team have not been able to determine the source of the infection.

"I can deal with broken bones but when something from inside attacks you, I've never had that before," Ilgauskas said after taking part in shootaround with the Heat on Friday morning.
Keep in mind: Ilgauskas wears size 17 shoes when his feet are in normal condition. The thought of size 17 feet doubled is almost unthinkable -- he would need to tape a grocery bag to his ankle or something. How else would you possibly keep that thing covered?

The good news is that Ilgauskas sounds like he's now on the road to recovery. The Heat, who are currently the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed, can certainly use him.

Ilgauskas is averaging 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game this season.
Category: NBA
Posted on: March 11, 2011 12:28 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 12:54 am

What to remember from Lakers-Heat II

The Heat win a big one as the entire team steps up, while Kobe Bryant shows what makes him great, and frustrating, after the game. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Let's get this out the way. 

While this game was one that the Lakers genuinely cared about (as evidenced by the kind of effort given by both the players and Phil Jackson, who not only actively coached, but yelled at officials standing up, and called timeouts), it does not "matter." The Heat is still unlikely to face the Lakers again this season with both Chicago (0-2) and Boston (0-2) somewhere in their spring future. Had the Lakers won, it would not be a death knell on the Heat's future. This is not a conviction of the Lakers' season. 

But it was a great game, and it was one in which there were things that made zero sense, and some that made all the sense in the entire world. 

What we'll remember from this game

The Heat gave everything: We'd waited all season for them to rise to a moment, and they finally did. Wade diving on the floor for a loose ball, chucking it to James for a dunk so hard he wound up in the second row of photographers. It was effort from start to finish, and it was impressive, despite some terrible shooting performances. 

Dwyane Wade rose to the moment: I couldn't get over how terrible Dwyane Wade looked for the first 36 minutes of the game. He was losing balls unforced out of bounds off the dribble. He was missing wide-open spot-up threes. He was playing as he had in every big game for the Heat this year. Then suddenly, it all fell into place and Dwyane Wade, the Dwyane Wade who's an NBA champion, an MVP candidate, one of the best shooting guards in the history of the game stepped up and made the plays he needed to make to win the game. It was a definite redemption after the last three weeks of struggle, and something the Heat badly needed. James did his job, Wade did his job, capitalized on the opportunities, and perhaps most importantly, didn't settle from the outside. He attacked, and the result was shots at the rim. Wade's final eight-minute stretch? Eight points on 4-7 shooting, 2 offensive rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 1 turnover. 

Chris Bosh shutting everyone up: Chris Bosh was supposed to struggle in the post. He was supposed to be the weak link. And he has for most of the year. But against the Lakers, he was everything he said he would be. He hit the post-turnaround over bigger defenders, he grabbed 9 boards, he worked hard at both ends, played aggressive, smart, and led the Heat in scoring. Chris Bosh was the best player for the Heat the whole night through. Who saw that coming?

Wasted Advantage Down Low: Andrew Bynum was 4-5 from the field, and 5-6 from the stripe for 13 points. That's some pretty incredible efficiency. Pau Gasol was 8-16 and 4-5 from the line. Not as stunning, but pretty good. Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, and Ron Artest were 14-37. You'd think that at some point, with the Heat trotting out Juwan Howard, Joel Anthony, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, that someone with the Lakers would say "Hey, maybe we should throw it to one of the really tall guys." It's not that their success is guaranteed, it's that it just seems like something that may have helped. The rebounding, though, that's all on the bigs. Outrebounded 46-37, with the Heat enjoying five more offensive boards. The Lakers did not bring their best efforts on the glass, worried too much about shutting down the Triad. 

Support players stepping up and down: The Heat bench outscored the Lakers' 22-16, something few saw coming. Mike Miller was in effect. The Heat badly needed a role player to step up in the first quarter, and it was Mario Chalmers, with three big 3-pointers. Zydrunas Ilgauskas wound up a +16 on the night. That's just an impressive overall performance for a squad that's been mocked, derided, and questioned all seasons. Against one of the stronger units, they stepped up and were a huge part of the Heat win. 

Kobe Bryant after-hours: Is there a more iconic image of Bryant? In a game that featured a terrible shooting performance from him, where he turned the ball over late, where he hoisted 35-foot 3-pointers into the air, ignoring any semblance of an offensive system, he returns an hour after the game to work on his jumper. This is Kobe Bryant, the most feared player in the NBA, determined to work on the very shots that should never have been taken, confident that if he works hard enough, they'll fall, because they've fallen before. Maybe they fell because he was younger, stronger, but he'll never approach the game that way and his fans will never want him to. They'll want him doing exactly what he did Thursday night, work on his game until his blood's run dry, even if that game isn't what Phil Jackson wants, the Lakers need, or his body requires. As for why he says he did it? "This is (his) job." He'll focus on those shots he missed, never considering that maybe he should have created, should have worked in the flow of the offense, should have been a part of the engine as opposed to the sole operator. He's won five championships because of this, he may win his sixth because of this, and he'll be simultaneously revered and reviled because of it. Some will say it's what sets him apart from LeBron James even as James got the win. Others will say it's an attention-grabbing stunt, even as he never informed media he'd be there or paid any attention to them. Kobe Bryant will always be the player we can never agree on, can never let go of.  He's too determined, too stubborn, too brilliant, too frustrating. But at the end of the day, he's got his rings, and a great chance at another. For one night, however, he's got that gym, and his thoughts. 

The Heat have the win. 
Posted on: March 9, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: March 9, 2011 1:32 pm

Big Z retiring after this season?

Posted by Royce Young

Zydrunas Ilgauskas is 35, has had multiple foot surgeries and knows his time as a professional basketball player is running out. He has a player option for next season but he doesn't intend to use it. Instead, Big Z plays to retire.

"I think I've had enough of this game. I've played enough," Ilgauskas told alietuvis.com. "Sitting on the bench doing nothing is not what I want to do. The long trips and the intensive schedule have taken its toll -- I'm not a 20-year-old anymore and my body is telling me that it would be the right time to retire from NBA after this season. I have given everything I could to basketball and now I'd like to spend more time with my family."

Kind of a funny thing to say when you're still playing. Big Z is still a key part of the Heat's front line, but by the sound of that quote, it doesn't sound like he's all that invested. So now we know who to blame! (Kidding.)

Definitely a good idea for Ilgauskas though as at 7-3 and double-digit years of service in the league, he's sure to be beat up. His feet and legs are definitely feeling it and at a certain point, it's not worth it any more. He still have a little more than 20 regular season games left and then if the Heat have it their way, more than a month of playoff basketball to go. So maybe he can dig deep for this stretch run.

Ilgauskas is averaging just 16.8 minutes per game this season and followed LeBron from Cleveland to Miami to try and make a run at a title in what appears to be his swan song.

UPDATE: From ESPN's Brian Windhorst : "Despite report out of Lithuania, Zydrunas Ilgauskas said he has not decided to retire. Will evaluate after the season."

Category: NBA
Posted on: February 13, 2011 1:46 am

10 Keys to Celtics vs. Heat III

Five keys for Boston and Miami as the Celtics and Heat meet Sunday for the third time this season. Is this a must-win for Miami, even in February?
Posted by Matt Moore

Allright, Miami. We're going to give you one last shot at this to show us you have anything interesting to bring to the matchup against the Boston Celtics before we start tracing over our penciling in of the Celtics for the Finals. In the first two meetings between the two best teams in the East, the Heat were dispatched. Both games featured moderately significant leads for the Celtics late, runs by Miami to keep the television audience slightly interested, then workman-like elimination stretches from Boston to close things out. If the Heat want to showcase anything towards the notion that they are anything more than a cupcake-devouring regular season team, this is the time to prove it. Their showcase wins over the Lakers and Magic in the past month and a half will mean very little if the Celtics were to run up a 3-0 season series advantage.

There's no such thing as a must-win game for an NBA title contender in February. But this is about as close as it gets. 
And with that, here are five keys to Boston and five keys to Miami for Sunday's afternoon delight between the Heat and the Celtics. 

Boston Celtics

1. A Pointed Exchange

Rajon Rondo isn't just the best point guard on the floor, he is arguably the third best overall player in this matchup.  He's certainly made a strong case for that element in the first two games against Miami. Rondo has 33 assists and just six turnovers against the Heat this season. I'll let you soak in that stew of incredible for a moment. 33 assists. Six turnovers. Even more incredible, though, is that his games could have been a lot stronger offensively. Rondo is just 5-17 from the field in this season series, for a grand total of 12 points. Rondo's clearly shown he doesn't have to score in order to be a huge advantage for the Celtics, but if he brings his brilliant playmaking and finds his mid-range or floater falling? This thing could get out of hand before half. Matched up against either Mario Chalmers or Carlos Arroyo, Rondo is able to out-class whatever the Heat want to throw at him, and he's even got the speed and ability to take Dwyane Wade or LeBron James to the cleaners. The big key for Rondo is to stay aggressive and focused. When he's zoned in, the Heat simply don't have the personnel to counter him. 

2. Baby You Got What I Need

Glen Davis has never lost a regular season game to the Miami Heat. True story. He's 9-0 all-time agains the Heat, and while some of that is an anomaly, some of it isn't, and he's been a big factor this year against the Triad. Davis is the unofficial league-leader in charges-drawn and has made some big ones against LeBron James. The Celtics' ability to close on James not at the point of attack on the perimeter, where his size and athleticism allows him to either bust the double or pass to a cutter, but at the bucket, has frustrated James time and time again throughout the years. While Davis' blubbery reverse, tilt-a-whirl mid-range and fiercely wild, yet consistent putbacks are helpful, it's this awareness on the defensive end and his willingness to sacrifice his body to an oncoming L-Train that really makes him a difference-maker in this matchup. With a shortened bench likely for this game, expect Davis' presence to be felt early and often. 

3. In Your Head, Zombie

Kevin Garnett's cute little antics can get in the heads of some, but he hasn't really whipped out the special effects in the first two meetings. His game has raged from strong but shakey in the first meeting (10 points, 7 turnovers) to strong (16 points, 13 rebounds) in the second. But he hasn't really had any key moment of conflict, which is surprising, considering how much of a target you'd expect Chris Bosh to be for Garnett's jawing and snapping. Garnett did shut down Bosh in the season opener, but he recovered for the second. You'd think that given how emotional Garnett has played lately, this game would be ripe for a fake-fight from the former MVP. At the same time, Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen need to make sure Garnett doesn't go too far. He's been pressing his luck further and further with officials lately, and they can't afford to lose him to an ejection, not with how short the bench is. Speaking of... 

4. Protect and Serve

The biggest key for this game for Boston? Don't get injured. That's the really important message. They've already won two impressive games against Miami, they're short-handed, it's February, they're in a bit of a slump, and it's an early-start game. While a nice, comfortable victory on the back of great shooting would be rewarding, and sending an even more dominant message would do the Celtics good, the goal for the Celtics now is to get to the Finals healthy. 

5. The Kobe Treatment on LeBron

The same formula that worked in the first two games should work again. Let James score all the points he wants, but make life a living hell for Dwyane Wade and the Heat shooters. Do that, and they become as one-dimensional as the Cavs were. It's only when the cylinders get going on all three members of the Triad and then the perimeter rotations start freeing up threes for the lesser guards that the Heat become a really effective unit. As long as James is being tempted into ISO situations, the Celtics can close, harass, and limit James' domination. It's fine if he gets ridiculous numbers as long as the rest of the team struggles. Worked before, it'll work again. 

Miami Heat

1. Try, Try, Try Again

It sounds simple, but if the Heat want to walk away with their first win over the Green since forming this little group of Super-Friends, they need to give more effort. Boston's defensive unit is yet again the most feared in the league and a huge reason for why the Heat's focus seemed to go in a thresher in October and November's games.  However, there was a clear lackadasical element to the Heat's body language in those games that seemed to indicate they simply weren't dialed into these games. Against the Celtics! It should have been Boston who wasn't committed to winning a meaningless regular season game, acting as if they didn't care about such games. But instead Boston brought its A-Game and the Heat seemed content to lay down and watch them take it from them. Needless to say, the same kind of intensity from Miami on Sunday will ruin any chance they have. The Celtics are tired, worn-down, injured, and know this game means nothing for them. Yet they will still bring their focus and be ready to capitalize unless the Heat give them a reason to quit. 

2. The D-Rated Superstar

Dwyane Wade has been terrible against Boston this season. He has shot 6-28 from the field for 21 points, with 9 assists and 12 turnovers. Those are "OMG" bad numbers. Wade is an elite player and it's his ability to finish at the rim that can rack up fouls for Boston and force them to bring doubles. If they're able to simply rotate like they usually do, the Heat shooters will face contested shots, which will pile up the misses. James has brought it the first two games, it's time for Wade to step up and join him. There's no reason to think they can count on the rest of the Heat to step up against the Celtics so the two best players on the team have to set the example. Wade has had a great season, but really been shut down against Boston. That can't happen Sunday or the Heat is sunk.

3. Do-Run-Run-Run, Do-Run-Run

The Celtics don't like running teams. They still usually beat them, but they have issues with them, as we've pointed out in the past. A shortened rotation due to injury is only going to exacerbate that problem. Likewise, the Heat are at their best when they're out in transition, using the talents of James, Wade, and Bosh in space. Against the Celtics this season, the Heat actually have fewer transition plays than the Celtics, (27-25, via Synergy Sports). The Celtics do a good job of getting back immediately in transition and attacking the ball to stop it. The Heat need to be insistent in pushing, and trusting that their athletes can make things happen. If they turn the ball over, so be it. But a higher pace game favors the Heat, even as the two teams are even in pace this season at 92.8

4. Desperately Seeking X

The Heat need an X-Factor. Someone to step up and put some points on the board, make a few defensive plays, create some steals, something. Udonis Haslem was that player in the first two games, but since he's out, someone will have to step up. If either Mario Chalmers, James Jones, or Eddie House can make a significant set of plays to cap off Heat runs, they may be able to get some damage done against Boston. They'll have their opportunities. The Celtics won't over-double and will run off three-pointers, but they're also unlikely to kill themselves to contest shots they're willing to live with. The Heat have to be ready to step up in those situations. It won't take a cohesive effort from all of the role players, but someone is going to need to give them something surprising. 

5. A Step in the Right Direction

The Heat can't convert anyone about their prospects in the playoffs on Sunday. Not really. But they can make a good step in that direction. The Celtics will brush off a loss by saying they'll get it done when it counts. Miami does not have that luxury, but they still need to get some level of confidence. A loss means they were beaten in three straight by Boston, with their last matchup coming in rest-up time just days before the playoffs in April. This is their best and last shot to show they can go toe to toe with Boston, even if it's an injured Celtics team. They need to get outside the hype they brought with them this season, the injuries they've dealt with, and the newness of this team. If they want to feel confident in any way, shape, or form for a possible Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Boston Celtics, they have to start by winning in Boston Sunday.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 2:39 am

As the Big 3 shine, Heat role players lining up

The Heat and their role players seem to be getting the hang of things.
Posted by Matt Moore

Mario Chalmers: +16

Zydrunas Ilgauskas: +2

James Jones: +8

And with that, we begin to see a flickering hope for the Heat. During this six game win streak, the Heat largely pounded their way to victory. But against a quality opponent in the Jazz, they finally seemed to break out and play a game worthy of their hype, at least when it mattered as they won going away in the fourth quarter behind a stellar performance from the Big 3 (75 combined points). But perhaps more notably, we've begun to see life from the role players for the Heat who so often failed them in the beginning of this year. 

Zydrunas Ilgauskas doesn't have to be dynamic. By that I mean he doesn't have to have footwork, shake moves, pump fakes or complexity in anything on offense. He just has to hit the mid-range jumper on the pick and pop and a few tip-ins. That's it. In doing so, he keeps the defense honest and punishes them from helping too much on perimeter penetration. On defense he doesn't have to swoop in for huge blocks or take impressive charges. He just has to do is be tall and be a tree you can't swing the football through. That's it. And when that happens, things go much better for the Heat. 

Mario Chalmers had about the most Mario-Chalmers-esque night possible. He logged two steals, one of which resulted in a turnover when he lost his dribble on a breakaway layup. But it was his perimeter speed and intensity that helped him get minutes, finally, while Carlos Arroyo kept failing to maintain position or capitalize on plays. Again, it wasn't that Chalmers was particularly good, but in large part the Heat don't need someone to produce,they need someone to put the effort in which forces the defense to adjust and opens things up for the guys who matter: the Big 3. 

James Jones hit 2 of 3 three-pointers. That's pretty much all he has to do. 

All the talk from supporters of the Heat was that the team needed time to gel. While the loss of Udonis Haslem will continue to haunt the team, Mike Miller returns soon. And in the meantime, their role players have begun to give cohesive efforts as a total unit. It's not about Mario Chalmers playing better than Carlos Arroyo or James Jones better than Eddie House. It's about the entire unit giving enough support on both sides of the ball to simply allow the talent of the Big 3 to overwhelm the opponent in order to win the game. 

And beyond the hype, the stats, the Decision, or anything else, that's all that matters. That's what divides derision from highlight packages. Winning.

And it looks like the Heat are getting the hang of it. 
Posted on: December 2, 2010 8:34 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:13 pm

LeBron James booed by Cavs fans video

LeBron James was heavily booed by Cleveland Cavaliers fans at Quicken Loans Arena during his return to his former city as a member of the Miami Heat. Posted by Ben Golliver

LeBron James, forward for the Miami Heat, returned to Cleveland for the first time on Thursday night, after he left the Cavaliers during the 2010 summer free agency period. After taking his talents to South Beach, how would he be received by the Quicken Loans Arena full of Cavaliers fans on Thursday night? With boos, of course. James and the Heat were booed heavily as soon as they took the court for warm-ups. James responded by throwing down a monster dunk on his first time through the layup line. Here's the video of LeBron James taking the court at The Q in Cleveland. James was the first member of the Heat introduced during player introductions, and he was booed heavily then as well. Teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were also subject to heavy boos. Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, also a former member of the Cavaliers, who joined James in Miami, received cheers as he remains very popular in Cleveland. Here's the video of LeBron James being introduced at The Q in Cleveland. 

Click here for the full LeBron James introduction video. Click here to watch video of LeBron James toss the chalk in Cleveland.
Posted on: December 2, 2010 8:07 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:13 pm

LeBron James returns to Cleveland: fan reaction

LeBron James returns to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers as a member of the Miami Heat for the first time. Here's what Cleveland fans have to say about it. Posted by Ben Golliver
CBSSports.com traveled to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland for the Miami Heat's first trip to face the Cavaliers since star forward LeBron James signed with the Heat instead of the Cavaliers during the free agency period this summer. Obviously, The Decision created a lot of mixed emotions for Cleveland fans, including a lot of negative opinions. "A lot of anxiety going on around here, a lot of tension, you can almost cut it with a knife. It feels like everyone is going to a big wake," one fan said. "LeBron is a donkey," said another fan, who was accompanied by a man wearing a donkey mask. "You get what we're trying to say." "He's just not championship material. He's proven it seven years running," chimed in another gentleman. A young male fan offered this troubling prediction for tonight's outcome: "Cleveland by 40. LeBron tears his ACL." Opinion wasn't completely negative, however. "Welcome home LBJ, we still love you," said one female fan. Others were simple dismissive. "It's all about Z. I'm not focusing on LeBron," said a female fan, referring to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the former Cavaliers center who joined James in Miami, but remains extremely popular in Cleveland. "LeBron, I don't care nothing about him," added an older gentleman, wearing a wig that resembled Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao's hair. Here's the Cavaliers fan reaction to LeBron James return to Cleveland video
Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:50 am
Edited on: December 2, 2010 11:57 am

Ilgauskas thinks fans need some perspective

Former Cav suggests that maybe we're all going a little nuts over Heat-Cavs Thursday night.
Posted by Matt Moore

Zydrunas Ilgauskas isn't hated in Cleveland like LeBron James is for his defection to the Heat. He may even receive a fair amount of cheers tonight when introduced. He was a career-long Cavalier until this season when he joined his friend to try and win that championship that has held itself beyond his reach. So he's got a pretty good perspective on all the elements, people, and feelings going on as James returns to Cleveland. But with the tampering charges being investigated by Dan Gilbert, Ilgauskas isn't quite feeling polite about the hoopla regarding James' return. As he told NBA FanHouse:

"That's chasing ghosts right there," he told FanHouse while shaking his head. "Let bygones be bygones. There are more important things in life: people dying from cancer every day, kids dying every day, people having HIV, people fighting wars. There are more important things than the Miami Heat going back to Cleveland.

"Let's put life in perspective, it's just a basketball game."
via LeBron James, Miami Heat Teammates React to Dan Gilbert's Tampering Probe -- NBA FanHouse .

I kind of want to hug Ilgauskas after this quote. His comments are in regards to the tampering charge specifically, but this statement needs to be made into T-Shirts, cofee mugs, and gigantic billboards on the sides of buildings. It's completely fine for Cleveland to be upset about this. It's important to them. But it's still just a basketball game.

You have to wonder with the increased security, tension, and pain being expressed over this game, if everyone hasn't lost sight of that fact.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com