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News » AK shakes jet lag, shines like a star

AK shakes jet lag, shines like a star

AK shakes jet lag, shines like a star LOS ANGELES ? He did admit to feeling a little funny after making his fifth transoceanic flight in less than a month. Seriously, though, if his nifty behind-the-back pass to Carlos Boozer for a layup in Sunday's 110-103 preseason win over Charlotte at the Staples Center here was any indication ? not to mention a stat line chock full like those from glory days gone by, including 18 points and 5-for-7 field shooting ?

jet lag isn't going to trouble Andrei Kirilenko. No longer problematic, either, will be the worry over tedious and sometimes overwhelming chores that go with adopting a baby girl, which is what Kirilenko and wife Masha formally finalized late last week in their native Russia. From plenty of phone calls to mounds of paperwork and a collection of medical records, and even a requisite visit with a psychologist who must stamp their approval, it's no wonder it took since last February to get everything in order. "In Russia, it's a little different," Kirilenko said of the adoption process, which is much more rare there than it is in the United States. "So, it's a long process." But quite worthwhile. "I'm happy," said Kirilenko, who missed a preseason win Thursday over Portland and a loss Saturday to the L.A. Clippers so he could attend a court hearing in Moscow. Though the adoption was finalized, 2-month-old Alexandra ? she'll be known by the common Eastern European nickname Sasha ? remains in Russia with mother Masha. It's likely to be another two or three weeks before the family, which also includes two sons who just returned to Utah from Moscow, can be united in the States. "She's not here (yet)," Kirilenko said, "because we only have Russian papers and she needs to get an international passport so she can travel." How long that will take remains to be seen. "Nobody knows," said Kirilenko, who along with his wife had been thinking about adopting a girl since shortly after the couple's youngest boy was born. "That's another chapter." Making the quick trip overseas ? on the heels of recent Jazz preseason games in London and Madrid ? was necessary to the process. "Get a call, you have to go," said Kirilenko, who spent much of the offseason waiting for that very call while living in France for the offseason. He still hadn't received it when he returned to Salt Lake City just a few days before Jazz training camp got under way in late September. "It doesn't take much time in the court. But still, you have to be in front of the judge so she can ask a question to you. "I'd never been in a court before," he added. "Especially in Russia, you're like, 'What am I supposed to say, what am I supposed to do? How can I explain?'?" The one-time NBA All-Star and star of Russia's national team expressed appreciation for Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's and general manager Kevin O'Connor's cooperation in the matter. "They've been good about it," said Kirilenko, who told the two he'd need to leave two days before doing just that last Wednesday. "They said, 'No problem, just go.'?" Kirilenko tried to do so discreetly and asked that the reason for his excused absence not be disclosed by the Jazz . Now that he's back, and even after taking as many lengthy flights as he has lately, the experienced international traveler has no worries about being Basketball-ready. "I think I'll be fine," he said when asked about the Jazz's Oct. 28 regular-season opener at Denver, which comes only after additional preseason games Tuesday at Portland and Friday at Sacramento. "Especially for me, it's become a common thing," Kirilenko added. "I'm a frequent flyer." Platinum, actually ? on Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline and a member of Delta's SkyTeam global alliance. Yet he seemed so fresh Sunday. "Everybody thought he was gonna be dead out there," Jazz point guard Deron Williams said, "but he came out ? and got into a good rhythm and played very good." "I was surprised at Andrei's activity," Sloan said after Kirilenko started at small forward and also pulled down six rebounds, dished four assists, made one steal and blocked a shot in 26 minutes. "He had a long last two or three days, and I thought that's one of his better exhibition games." Ever. "He shot the ball, ran the floor a lot better, and looked like he had a lot more energy," Sloan said. The coach's only complaint ? go figure ? centered on the play which was flashiest. That would be the behind-the-back pass. "Yeah, well, you know what they say about those?" Sloan said when asked about it. "You can't put it in the paper." e-mail:

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Added: October 20, 2009


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