Russia had an absolute nightmare of a first quarter against Spain in their Olympic basketball clash on Saturday, falling behind by 17 points after just 10 minutes of play. Pau Gasol got off to a dominant start, scoring 11 points in the first quarter. From there, Spain's offense dried up completely. They scored just 12 points in the second quarter and 13 in the third quarter of their 77-74 loss at the hands of Russia.
Andrei Kirilenko has been Russia's top performer thus far in the tournament, but he had very little to do with the team's resurgence against Spain on the offensive end. Instead, Russia were led by Vitaly Fridzon, who scored 24 points on 9-15 shooting from the floor. Anton Ponkrashov was also excellent with 14 points and 11 assists.
Spain went long stretches of time without scoring a field goal, including a six-minute stretch between the end of the second quarter and the early part of the third quarter. Gasol led the team in scoring with 20 points, but contributed very little after his spectacular first quarter.
Russia used the second and third quarters, in which it outscored Spain, 45-25, to tally and take a three-point lead heading into the fourth. They nearly gave away the game late after getting off to an abysmal start in the fourth quarter, but manage to hold off Spain's comeback. Down three with seconds remaining, Spain failed to even get off a final shot attempt.
Russia improves to 4-0 in Group B play and will look to remain perfect when they face Australia on Monday. Spain is now 3-1 and now has a key match-up with Brazil in its final preliminary round game.
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