U.S. could meet Russia in gold medal game

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 4, 2012 - 10:01 PM

The Americans and Russians, sparked by two Timberwolves, could wind up in gold medal game.


Lebron James drove to the basket against Lithuania’s Martynas Pocius as Kobe Bryant trailed the play Saturday.

Photo: Charles Krupa, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

LONDON - Russia's stunning comeback victory over Spain and the United States' stunningly close victory over Lithuania on Saturday created a couple of delicious potential story lines, one local, one international.

Russia has won Group B, meaning it won't have to face the Americans in the semifinals. If Russia and the United States meet, it will be in the gold medal game.

For Minnesotan basketball fans, that would mean three Timberwolves in the Olympic final: Kevin Love of the U.S. and Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko of Russia.

For international basketball fans, that would mean a rematch of Russia and the U.S. 40 years after Russia's controversial victory in Munich.

"Hey, right now it's a little bit different time," Kirilenko said. "That was like Communist time, Cold War. Right now everybody's already playing together, as teammates. You have Russians playing in America, Americans playing in Russia, so it doesn't really get into politics much. But I would love to play the Americans in the finals for the gold medal."

What did he think of the 1972 game?

"What do you want me to say?'' he said, laughing. "I loved the win in '72.''

Russia trailed by 18 early and rallied to win 77-74 on Saturday. Kirilenko and Shved offered their first poor performances of the Olympics. Kirilenko had eight points and eight rebounds in 35 minutes. Shved, looking tired and overwhelmed, had zero points and zero assists in seven minutes.

The Americans were coming off a record-setting 83-point victory over Nigeria, and facing a 1-2 Lithuania team, but it took a fourth-quarter lead and was within one point with 4:10 left before LeBron James hit a three-pointer, dunked on a fast break and hit a spinning layup to give the U.S. a 99-94 victory.

"I know a lot of people have a lot to say about him in the fourth quarter, but he made big plays down the stretch," Love said. "Coming off the NBA Finals, he's the most unstoppable player in the world.''

Love wasn't bad, either. He contributed seven points and a game-high eight rebounds in 12 minutes, and even dived to the floor to rip a loose ball from three opponents. His only regret was missing two sets of free throws.

"I can't remember ever doing that in my career,'' he said.

Watching Shved and Kirilenko has given Love renewed optimism about his Wolves career.

"I've met AK before, and now it's on a more personal level," Love said. "I just got to see him after they beat Spain. I'm looking forward to being teammates with him and Shved, and from here on out the Timberwolves are going to be a much better team.''

Wolves executive David Kahn recently called Love "assistant general manager'' because of Love's complaints about the Wolves' struggles.

"Hey, he said he wanted my input on some of the decisions, and we're supposed to be in it as a family,'' Love said. "So if he wants to call me 'assistant GM,' that's fine. But I think he was just having fun with the comment. We like to have fun with each other like that.

"In the last month, we've done a great job. AK is going to bring us a lot of size, a lot of length, always seems to be playing top-notch defense, top-tier in the NBA. Shved, from what I've seen, is big and athletic and can guard multiple positions and really distribute the ball. It's going to be really infectious with him and Ricky in there."


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Montreal 7:30 PM
Arizona 8:00 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM





question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters