Andrei Kirilenko is going to be visible to Americans this summer — even if it’s looking more and more likely he is headed back to Russia for another season with CSKA Moscow. (He has until July 12 to opt out of his contract),
Kirilenko and the Russian national team qualified for the London Olympics on Saturday night in Caracas, Venezuela, by defeating Nigeria 85-77 behind 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals by Kirilenko. The Russians went undefeated in the tournament and could be placed in the same group as Team USA, Argentina, France and Tunisia — depending on the result of a draw held by FIBA following Sunday’s third-place game.
Lithuania also make it to London and ran its string of Olympic qualifications to six (every one since 1992 for the Baltic republic that gained its independence in 1990 and won bronze medals in 1992, 1996 and 2000) by easily defeating the Dominican Republic 109-83, holding Al Horford to 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
For a look at a pretty pick-and-roll combination by Sarunas Jasikevicius and Jonas Valanciunas, the old and the new face of Lithuanian basketball, play this video.
(To see two vicious dunks by former Duke guard Martynas Pocius, who will make it to the NBA one day — and I don’t just say that because he is a Twitter follower — check out the 41-second You Tube video below.)
The Dominican Republic and Nigeria will play later today for third-place in the tournament and the final spot in London.