Russia-China Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 29, 2012
Considered a potential sleeper to medal, Russia opened some eyes with an impressive start to the Olympics. The performance shouldn't be lost on NBA teams, either. Andrei Kirilenko and Alexsey Shved look to build on their strong opening performance when they face China in a Group B game on Tuesday. Facing a Britain team eager to put on a strong showing as the Games' host country, Russia had no trouble matching its intensity and cruised to a 95-75 victory on Sunday. Russia, which won one game and finished in ninth place at the Beijing Games, had to like what it saw from Kirilenko and Shved. Kirilenko finished with 35 points on 14-of-17 shooting, while Shved added 16 points and 13 assists. Both will play for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season after signing contracts last week. "If I'm the Minnesota Timberwolves, I have a big, fat smile on my face," Russian coach David Blatt said. Kirilenko, better known for his defense during his 10 years with the Utah Jazz from 2001-11, looked refreshed after deciding to play in Russia last season and avoiding a grueling NBA season that was compacted by the lockout. "I feel great,'' said Kirilenko, who signed a two-year, $20 million contract on Friday. "Look at me. I'm running like a young deer.'' Kirilenko did plenty of running and slashing toward the basket, and Shved found him time and again for lob passes and backdoor cuts. Seven of his assists went to Kirilenko. "I said prepare right now for Minnesota, that's how you're going to find me,'' Kirilenko said. "I think he's doing a good job. Last year we played together. We've got connection. He knows when I'm going to cut. I know when he going to start driving so I give him space." While the offense proved to be too much for Britain - shooting 62.7 percent from the field - Russia also wore down the hosts with its defensive pressure. It finished with 11 steals, nine blocked shots and limited the British to 4-of-26 shooting from 3-point range. Vitaliy Fridzon led Russia with four steals and also scored 14 points, the only other player on the team to reach double figures. The Russians boast an intimidating frontcourt with the 6-foot-10 Kirilenko, 7-1 Timofey Mozgov and 6-11 Sasha Kaun, and they'll be in charge of trying to contain Yi Jianlian, China's 6-11 forward. Yi, currently a free agent after spending last season with the Dallas Mavericks, had a game-high 30 points and 12 rebounds in Sunday's opener against Spain, but it wasn't enough as China lost 97-81. China got off to an encouraging start against a Spanish team expected to be perhaps the biggest threat to the U.S. It trailed by two points after one quarter and was within seven early in the fourth, but Spain went on a 9-0 run and China never threatened again. China couldn't keep up with Spain's depth, as its bench was outscored 50-12.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’


Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker