London, Aug 12 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia won its first Olympic basketball medal Sunday after a thrilling final decided in the last minute.
Russia beat 2004 Olympic champions Argentina 81-77, with Minnesota Timberwolves teammates Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko scoring 25 and 20 points, as well as seven assists for Shved and eight rebounds for Kirilenko.
A three-pointer for Shved with 37 seconds remaining put Russia back in front by two points, before Vitaly Fridzon deliverd the coup de grace with a two-pointer with five seconds on the clock.
“It was that last three-point shot that did it,” Denver Nuggets and Russia centre Timofey Mozgov said.
“Also our defence was our main strength. Argentina were hitting so many three-point shots, so we responded and did the same.”
Argentina led 20-19 at the end of the first quarter, but the match changed when Russia went on a 12-0 streak in the second quarter, with the Russians keeping the upper hand for most of the match from then on.
Just as in Argentina’s 83-109 semi-final defeat to the United States, San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili was the South Americans’ top scorer, scoring 21 points.
The US play Spain later Sunday in the final.
The Daily News Post India (tdnpost)