Russia, Spain Edge Opponents To Advance

03.08.2012

OLYMPICS 2012

7. Vitaliy FRIDZON (Russia)
Vitaliy Fridzon's heroic three-pointer in the final seconds of the game lifted Russia past Brazil.

Vitaliy Fridzon buried a three-pointer with just four seconds remaining to give Russia a 75-74 victory over Brazil on a thrilling Thursday at the Olympics.

France defeated Lithuania in the first game of the day and after Russia's heart-stopper, Spain survived 79-78 against hosts Great Britain.

Russia and Spain booked their places in the Quarter-Finals of the London Games with their victories.

The Russians clinched their third triumph in as many games.

Brazil had taken a 74-72 lead on a drive from Marcelinho Huertas with 6.1 seconds to go and looked good bets to win.

The FC Barcelona playmaker scored off the glass while being guarded by Victor Khryapa.

Russia called timeout to set up their last play and then Brazil burned a timeout as well.

Once the teams were ready, Russia inbounded the ball to Alexey Shved and he passed to Fridzon in the left corner.

Despite being under pressure by Leandro Barbosa, Fridzon made the shot.

Brazil quickly inbounded the ball to Leandro Barbosa and he rushed up the floor and attempted a three-pointer that hit off the glass but missed badly.

Russia coach David Blatt was proud of his squad, especially the way they concentrated on the final play.

"They executed it to perfection," Blatt said.

"You have to catch it and look - not a lot of space.

"That was really the only way to get it, and we wanted him to shoot the ball. He's our best three-point shooter."

Andrei Kirilenko had a game-high 19 points for Russia while Timofey Mozgov poured in 18 and Shved 17.

 

Spain Survive Against Great Britain

Spain had to hold on for dear life against Great Britain but made 10 of their last 11 free-throws in the final three minutes to scrape a one-point triumph.

The Brits trailed by 13 points at the end of the third quarter but clawed their way back in the fourth quarter.

When Luol Deng drilled a three-ball with eight seconds to play, Britain trailed by just one.

Spain inbounded the ball to Jose Calderon and the Brits weren't able to foul him.

Time expired, leaving Britain needing to beat Australia in their next game to have a decent chance of progressing.

Pau Gasol, who had 17 points, said: "I prefer to win by a bigger margin but at times you have to play like this.

"We have to do better throughout the game. Great Britain have buried very difficult three-pointers, especially in the last three minutes of the game and that has allowed them to remain with options.

"We managed to make our baskets and keep an advantage to win the game."

Gasol paid tribute to Great Britain, who lost their third game in a row.

"Great Britain showed more energy and will than us while we relaxed after taking an early advantage.

"This is a mistake because they got back in the game by making their shots."

 

9. Tony PARKER (France)
Tony Parker had a game-high 27 points to help France overcome Lithuania.

France Getting In Shape

France had arguably the worst build-up to the London Games as any team from Europe.

But as the saying goes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

They looked very strong on Thursday in beating Lithuania, 82-74.

Tony Parker, forced to undergo an eye operation last month, and Nicolas Batum had their best games of the summer in leading France to their second victory in a row in Group A.

Parker finished with 27 points on nine of 14 shooting from the floor and Batum poured in 21 while also swatting three shots.

"We tried to play well in the first half but our defense was not quite there," Parker said.

"Second half we played great defense, we made shots and got the win.

"We are playing better and better and everybody's getting back in shape. Me, I'm getting back in shape, Nicolas Batum is getting back in shape, we only practiced one time with Batum."

Batum couldn't prepare with France whilehis NBA status was undecided.

Once he signed a new deal with Portland, however, he joined Les Bleus.

"We had a really tough preparation, but at the same time we are getting back in shape and winning games so hopefully we can arrive in top shape at the Quarter-Finals," Parker said.

While France have won two straight in Group A since losing their opener to the United States, Lithuania are 1-2 heading into their clash with Team USA on Saturday.


RELATED NEWS

2012 Year In Review: London Olympics20.12.2012
Spain Take Silver In Final For The Ages12.08.2012
Spain Edge Russia To Play For Gold10.08.2012
Spain, Russia To Battle It Out In Semis09.08.2012
One European Team To Have Shot At Gold07.08.2012
Russia Stun Spain, Lithuania Come Close05.08.2012
Spain And Russia Stay On Winning Track01.08.2012

Advertisement