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Timberwolves fans have a lot of Olympic basketball cheering options. There’s the United States featuring Kevin Love, who threw off concerns about his playing time with a strong performance against France yesterday. There’s Spain, who Rubio is loudly cheering for on Twitter (and let’s face it, he has a little bit of influence over us). And now, there’s Russia, for whom the two most recently acquired Timberwolves are playing.
From The Star Tribune, my new favorite quote of the Olympics:
“Look at me,” [Andrei] Kirilenko said, exulting after the game. “I am running like a young deer.”
Putting aside the utter hilarity of that quote, it’s hard to argue with Andrei. In yesterday’s 95-75 domination of the Olympic home country, Great Britain, Kirilenko shot a staggering 82.3% from the field and scored 35 points. His team Alexey Shved, the other Timberwolf on the roster, also played extremely well at point guard, dishing out 13 assists to go with 16 points.
It should be noted that Great Britain is not a very good basketball team, despite Luol Deng’s presence (and yes, even Deng’s Olympic coaches overplay him). But Alexey Shved can PASS, and I’m not just talking about the absurd between the legs dish. Shved demonstrated excellent court vision, as well as a flair for the dramatic. His basketball IQ seems to be very high, which makes him an exciting pairing with Rubio next year after Ricky is cleared to play. Until then, performances like this indicate that we may see Shved starting in Rubio’s place until the Spanish point guard is fully recovered.
Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted this gem of a quote last night:
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.”
Oh, we do, David Blatt. We certainly do.