2012 London Olympics Men's Basketball: Russia Moves Past Lithuania - Into The Semis

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To tip off the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympics men’s basketball tournament, we were handed a low scoring first quarter between Russia and Lithuania. At the end of the first quarter Russia led 17-10.

As the second quarter turned around Lithuania started to pick up the tempo and sliced the lead to 5 points at the end of the first half. Even though this game was low scoring and not that quite exciting throught the first 20 minutes, it was still a tight classic Olympic basketball game between two of the grittiest teams.

Lithuania would end up never getting the lead since the halfway through the first quarter with a 7-6 lead. From there Russia just took control.

In the third quarter Russia would increase their lead to double digits. Denver Nuggets big man Timofey Mozgov would make a dunk which would give Russia a 14 point lead with 3:14 left to play in the quarter. However, Lithuania wouldn’t back down and saw that they could still take the lead. Lithuania would make 13-3 run to close out the third quarter and slice the momentarily comfortable double digit lead to just four points.

Entering the fourth quarter Russia understood how Lithuania closely pulled off an upset over Team USA by their fourth quarter performance. At the start of the fourth quarter, Lithuania’s leading scorer in Rimantas Kaukenas would quickly knock down a three pointer. Kaukenas would end up finishing the game with 19 points including 3 three pointers.

Unfortunately for Lithuania, Russia would go on 10-2 run before Lithuania would call a full timeout down 9 points with 5:46 left in the game. Lithuania would eventually only go as close as 5 points through the final 5 minutes of the game. At the end Russia would win the game 83-74.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko would lead the way for Russia with 19 points, 13 rebounds (5 offensive rebounds), and 3 assists. Future NBA teammate Alexey Shved would only finish with 4 points but would dish out 6 assists. Forward starter Victor Khryapa would score 12 points, 8 asssits, and 6 rebounds. Russia would also have 3 players scoring in double figures off the bench. Big man Timofey Mozgov would score 17 points, guards Vitaly Fridzon and Sergei Monya would chip in with 11 points and 10 points respectively.

For Lithuania, no starter would finish with double figures in scoring as all of their three double figure scorers would come off the bench. To help out Kaukentas’ 19 points, former NBA forward Darius Songaila would finish with 15 points while guard Mantas Kalnietis would pour in 14 points.

With Lithuania eliminated, Russia would be taking on #2 ranked Spain in a rematch of an earlier pool play game between both teams where Russia stunned Spain in a 77-74 victory.

The semi-final game between Russia and Spain will tip-off at 12:000 Noon ET

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Tags: Alexey Shved Andrei Kirilenko Linas Kleiza Lithuania Russia Spain Vitaly Fridzon

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