Russia, with two Timberwolves, fades out in semifinals

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 11, 2012 - 8:55 AM

Timberwolves Kirilenko and Shved slipped in loss.


Spain's Pau Gasol, center, scored between Russia's Timofey Mozgov (5) and Andrei Kirilenko (15) during a semifinal men's basketball game Friday.

Photo: Eric Gay, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

LONDON - It was a fun story for Minnesotans to follow, the two new Timberwolves playing with great pride for the Russian national team, making the Russians the talk of the Olympic tournament.

It was a fun story until Andrei Kirilenko started to slow, and then suffered a bruised leg and flopped in the semifinals, and Alexey Shved started missing shots with that funky release of his, and the Russians collapsed in the second half against Spain on Friday.

The Russians lost 67-59 -- and lost a chance to meet the United States in the final in what would have been a 40th anniversary rematch of the Russians controversial, clock-stopping victory over the Americans in Munich.

Shved and Russian coach David Blatt said after the game that Kirilenko was slowed by a bruised quadriceps, but that doesn't explain why the player described by Blatt as "the Russian Michael Jordan" missed half of his 10 free throws and often looked lost around the rim.

Kirilenko made two of his 12 attempts from the field, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. He turned in a strong defensive performance, with three blocked shots and two steals, but looked far less spry with the ball in his hands.

"Andrei played hurt," Blatt said. "But he wasn't the same guy. He gave us all he had."

Kirilenko and Shved were two of the best players in the best international tournament in the world until this week, when their teammates had to carry them. Shved, a natural shooting guard playing point guard for the national team for the last year, produced another erratic performance, scoring two points in 26 minutes.

He was far better at handling the ball than he had been in the two previous games, collecting seven assists and just two turnovers, but his shooting gave a clue as to why Blatt preferred to play him at point guard. Shved made only one of his six shots, often displaying a release that puts very little rotation on the ball.

"Wherever my coach wants to put me on the court, I play there," Shved said. "This is like my second year I play point guard. I like the position."

Where does he want to play for the Wolves? "I don't care," he said. "If coach wants me at point guard, if he wants me at shooting guard, whatever is best for the team is what I'll do."

Shved first mentioned Kirilenko's injury. Kirilenko brushed off questions about it. "It's nothing," he said. "I'll be fine."

Kirilenko, 31, said he wasn't sure whether he would try to play in the 2016 Olympics.

The game started after reports broke that the Lakers had traded center Andrew Bynum for Orlando star center Dwight Howard. Spanish star Pau Gasol had been rumored to be included in the deal, and he was relieved to be staying with a Lakers team that now features him, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Howard.

"I'm very excited about the team we have now and our chances," Gasol said. "There are a lot of emotions nowadays. Playing in the Olympics, being in this moment with my team, and then exciting news from back home in L.A."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
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 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
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
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question