London 2012 Olympics: Britain’s basketball team slam-dunked by Andrei Kirilenko
GREAT Britain’s long-awaited return to Olympic men’s basketball ended in a 95-75 defeat as they were on the wrong end of an explosive display by Russian star Andrei Kirilenko, who scored 35 points.
Britain, playing in the event for the first time since 1948, battled hard and their own own star, Luol Deng, shone brightly as he poured in 26 points, but Russia always had an answer.
Britain started brightly after Deng scored the first points of the game. The Chicago Bulls star had given them an 11-7 edge with a three-point play, but Victor Khryapa and Alexey Shved responded with back-to-back threes.
A three-pointer from Deng made it 18-17 but it was Russia who finished the first quarter the stronger as they went 24-19 ahead. Britain got a little sloppy in the second quarter, giving away costly turnovers. Russia capitalised, and when Deng threw the ball straight at Shved he teed up the outstanding Kirilenko.
The turnovers kept coming – there were 14 in the first half and Russian made it 47-32 shortly before the half.
Britain were able to keep pace with Russia in the third quarter, but still could not find a way to contain Kirilenko. Mensah-Bonsu opened the fourth quarter with a dunk, but Shved’s alley-oop pass was slammed home by Kirilenko, who piled on the punishment with a three-pointer that made it 81-62.
Freeland made it in to double figures for Britain with 13 points, but Shved finished with 16 for Russia and Fridzon added 14.
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