At the end of the day Brazil didn’t have enough late-game heroics to get the job done against Russia, as both teams played each other incredibly tough until the whistle was blown. Brazil dropped to 2-1 in Group B play after losing to the Russians on a Vitaly Fridzon three pointer with under five seconds to go.
Less than five seconds earlier Brazilian guard Marcelinho Huertas hit a driving layup to put Brazil up 74-72 in what many thought would be the deciding shot. Just before Huertas’ shot, soon-to-be Minnesota Timberwolves player and Russian point guard Alexey Shved hit a deep three to knot the game at 72. Shved then assisted on the eventual game winner by Fridzon.
The battle between the two unbeaten Group B teams ended with Russia improving to 3-0, giving them a better chance at a more favorable seed once the quarterfinal stage begins. A painstaking shot, such as the fade away that Fridzon hit over Brazilian guard Leandro Barbosa, is something that the Brazilians can’t dwell on. Although it puts them behind Russia and Spain in pool B standings, Brazil needs to focus on their next matchup against China.
Beating China (0-3) would be a great way for Brazil to forgot losing such a hard-fought game. Brazil has faced three tough opponents in a row in Australia, Great Britain and Russia, and they have all played the Brazilians very close. The margin of victory combined in the first two games for Brazil was nine points, and they have been defense-oriented games for the most part.
Brazil has averaged 69.3 points allowed per game throughout the preliminary round so far, and has looked like one of the most vigilant teams on the floor in London. Brazil did make some costly turnovers near the end of the game, but managed to steal the ball away seven times on Thursday.
Concerning the Cavalier fans, Anderson Varejao didn’t play a big role in the loss against Russia. In 18 minutes Andy recorded four points and brought down four rebounds, taking only five shots in the game. Barbosa, who missed the potential game-winning shot at the end of the game, led the way offensively for Brazil with 16 points on 7-14 shooting.
Larry Taylor played a big role off the bench, scoring nine points in the final quarter on 4-5 shooting from the field. Taylor will be a big reason why this Brazil team succeeds if he continues to produce off the bench.
Andrei Kirilenko tallied a game-high 19 points in 37 minutes, but was ineffective in the fourth quarter as the Brazilian defense locked him down. Shved scored 17 points and had six assists to go along with his premier performance.
Brazil (2-1) will face off against China (0-3) on Saturday, August 4 at 11:45 a.m.
- Team China had their losing streak extended to three on Thursday, as the Australians disposed quickly of the Chinese. Australia coasted to their first victory with a 81-61 win. Australia took a 16-point lead going into halftime and never looked back, as the guard play highlighted the Aussie’s first victory in Olympic play. Guards Patrick Mills, Matthew Dellavedova and Joe Ingles combined for 40 points, 14 assists and 14 rebounds, leading the way for a quick Australia team.
- The favorites to upend the Americans in London had to fight off a fourth quarter flurry from the British, who have fought tougher than any team in the Olympics this year in front of their home crowd. Spain held on to win 79-78, despite being outscored in the fourth quarter by 11 points. NBA players and brothers Pau and Marc Gasol combined for 39 points. A possible addition to the Cavaliers roster in Jose Calderon recorded a team-high 19 points on 6-11 shooting. The most resilient player on the Great Britain squad, Luol Deng, played a game-high 34 minutes. Deng scored 26 points, dished out seven assists and brought down nine boards while shooting at a 50 percent clip.
Topics: 2012 Olympics, Alexey Shved, Anderson Varejao, Andrei Kirilenko, Australia, Brazil, China, Cleveland Cavaliers, Great Britain, Joe Ingles, Larry Taylor, Leandro Barbosa, Luol Deng, Marc Gasol, Marcelinho Huertas, Matthew Dellavedova, Patrick Mills, Pau Gasol, Russia, Spain, Vitaly Fridzon