Russian basketball isn't typically relevant when it comes to holding the interest level of Americans, but the 2012 London Olympics has changed that for at least one NBA fan base. Not for nothing, of course, but because the team includes a pair of recent Minnesota Timberwolves signees in Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved.
Kirilenko, a longtime member of the Utah Jazz before heading back home during last season's NBA lockout, finished with 35 points (while missing just three of his 17 shot attempts) while Shved pulled off an awesome double-double with 16 points and 13 assists.
Considering it was Shved's first time playing in the Olympics, Sunday's performance was quite impressive -- and the play of the two new Timberwolves wasn't lost on their coach, either.
Russia coach David Blatt on Kirilenko & Shved vs. Team GB: "If I'm the Minnesota Timberwolves ... I've got a big, fat smile on my face."— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 29, 2012
While Minnesota fans are happy and Blatt's quote says quite a bit, the best quip following Russia's victory on Sunday came from Kirilenko.
"Look at me," Kirilenko said, exulting after the game. "I am running like a young deer."
With Kirilenko feeling young and Shved dropping passes like this, it's not hard to see why Timberwolves fans would be excited about the upcoming season.
For complete coverage of the 2012 London Olympics, visit SB Nation's Summer Olympics hub.