Russia and Brazil came into Thursday's game undefeated, and their clash in the Pool B qualifier came down to the final minutes. Russia's Vitaly Fridzon nailed a backbreaking buzzer beater to give Russian a one-point win. It was exactly the sort of battle you'd expect from two of the better international teams in the world.
The teams stayed close throughout. Russia was led by Timofey Mozgov's 18 points and Andrei Kirilenko chipped in with 17 points of his own. For the Brazilians, their superstar big men, Nene and Tiago Splitter, scored 8 points each, with Nene adding 10 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa also added 16 points off the bench.
But it was the role players who made the difference down the stretch. With the teams knotted at 72, Brazil point guard Marcelo Huertas careened down the lane and lunged toward the rim with a prayer of a layup that somehow fell through to give the Brazilian's a two-point lead, 74-72.
It was a spectacular shot, and it looked like the game-winner, but there were still 6 seconds left. And if Huertas' leaning lay-up was great, Vitaly Fridzon's leaning three was just a little bit better:
That made it 75-74, and a last-second heave from Barbosa didn't fall, giving Russia a thrilling win, keeping them undefeated through pool play. In conclusion: The Olympics are the greatest.