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Eurobasket Round 2, Game 3: Russia vs. Macedonia

September 14, 2011

Andrei Kirilenko Eurobasket Round 2 Highlights:

Russia vs. Macedonia
Russia’s moving on to the quarterfinals, and is the only unbeaten team left in Eurobasket.

Russia has had a way of pulling out wins seemingly regardless of turnovers, missed free throws, or how they’d played earlier in the game. In the final minute of the game, I absolutely thought Russia was dead in the water. They had been playing from behind for much of the game despite 15 lead changes, and had some costly turnovers in the final minutes.

Russia gained possession on a Macedonia miss with about 10 seconds left and down 1. Before they were able to get a shot off, Macedonia was called for a non-shooting foul with 4.2 seconds left. A timeout later, Macedonia still had fouls to give and fouled with 2.8 seconds left. The ball was then deflected off of a Macedonian player with 2.5 seconds left.

FYR of Macedonia was captained and led by the Macedonian Carlos Boozer.

David Blatt had drawn up the final shot for Andrey Vorontsevich, but he couldn’t get free. Sergei Monia got the inbounds pass and later said that he threw the ball up without even being able to see over his defender. The shot banked in, and Russia had its eighth win in eight games.

After hitting the buzzer-beater (and his first shot of the game) to win the game against Slovenia, Monia said that that was the first game-winning shot of his life. In Russia’s last game vs. Greece, Monia hit two 3s–his first points of the game–in the final 2:43 to break the game open. In this one, all of his points also came in the fourth quarter.

AK had a super difficult night, scoring-wise. While he was playing pretty effective defense, he just seemed gassed and had no lift around the basket. He was supposedly under the weather before the Greece game, so don’t know if that was a factor. The rest of his line, though, was what you’d expect: 2 points (1-9; ick), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 27 minutes.

Random Aside: So remember the 2004 NBA draft, which was one of the most failurific in Utah Jazz history? The Jazz had three first-round picks (14, 16, and 21), and used them on Kris Humphries-Kardashian, Kirk “Aggravated Burglary” Snyder, and Pavel “Who?” Podkolzin. (You probably remember that Big Al was taken between Humphries and Snyder.)

Interestingly enough (to me), the pick of Podkolzin kicked off a string of three consecutive Russian picks. #22 and #23 happened to be AK’s BFFs and Russian national team teammates, Victor Khryapa (New Jersey) and Sergei Monia (Portland). Before they entered the draft, they were teammates on CSKA Moscow for three years. The Nets traded Khryapa’s rights to Portland on Draft Day, and they ended up as Blazers teammates in ’05-’06.

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