LONDON – Former NBA standout Andrei Kirilenko scored 35 points to power Russia over Britain 95-75 on Sunday in a Group B round-robin opener at the Olympic men’s basketball tournament.
Russian Alexey Shved added 16 points and his 13 assists were two more than all of his teammates combined and three more than Britain’s team total. Vitaly Fridzon added 14 points for the winners.
British captain Luol Deng, an NBA standout for the Chicago Bulls, scored 26 points and former NBA big man Pops Mensah-Bonsu contributed 22 points and nine rebounds for the Olympic hosts.
But the British only managed to make 25 of 75 shots (33 percent), including a woeful 4-of-26 from 3-point range, while the Russians connected on 37-of-59 from the field (63 percent).
Kirilenko scored 17 points in the first half while Alexey Shved added seven points and six assists to spark Russia to a 49-34 half-time lead.
Deng excited the crowd with a spectacular court-length drive for a basket, including a change of hands in mid-dribble to evade a defender, and the 3-point play pulled Britain within 66-56 late in the third period.
Russia stretched the margin to 71-58 entering the fourth quarter and kept the Britons at bay down the stretch.
Check out the broadcast schedule of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament on AKTV and TV5.