Kirilenko leads Russia over China
Andrei Kirilenko scored 16 points and Russia used its size to beat China 73-54 Tuesday in the Olympic men's basketball tournament.
Kirilenko, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves last week, also had nine rebounds as Russia (2-0) easily handed China its second defeat in Group B. The former Utah Jazz standout is averaging 25.5 points in Russia's first two games.
"It's tough to play early (9 a.m.), but at least you got a lot of time to rest until the next game," Kirilenko said. "We were physical, but so are other teams here."
Russia went on a 10-0 run to open a 20-10 lead and was never really challenged the rest of the game.
Guard Alexey Shved, who is also heading to the Timberwolves, finished with 14 points for Russia and center Sasha Kaun added 13.
But for Russia coach David Blatt, Shved's performance wasn't good enough.
"Don't get me wrong, I love the kid. But I didn't like the way he played today," Blatt said. "Not as well as he could have and should have. He held the ball too long, and I'm going to tell him that."
Yi Jianlian, a forward with the Washington Wizards, had 16 points and seven rebounds and was the only China player to score in double figures.
Russia pounded China on the boards and finished with a 46-29 rebounding advantage.
Victor Khryapa had 12 rebounds to go with seven points.
"We won the game on defense. A 9 a.m. game has its special dynamic. I thought both teams came out to play, wide awake and ready to go," Blatt said.
"With all respect, our team is deeper and has more options and probably more experience at this level."
China's coach, Bob Donewald Jr. said once the game got physical, "we disappeared" and that his team was manhandled.
"Russia is long and physical," he said. "I am disappointed by the way we played. "Kirilenko is unique. They don't make plays for him, but he makes baskets, he cuts in, he rebounds, he runs.
"He's a winner, Minnesota's got a good one."