Remember when Andrei Kirilenko was young, precocious and was a nightly threat to produce one of those statistical anomalies known as a 5X5 — reaching at least five in five statistical categories?
The old AK-47 was back in the Olympic quarterfinals on Wednesday, producing a beastly line of 19 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks as Russia defeated a Lithuania team that would not quit, 83-74.
Timofey Mozgov also had a very strong game with 17 points, and former NBA player Sergei Monia scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter to help Russia pull away after Lithuania — which trailed for almost the entire game — pulled within 2 points, 57-55, on an inside bucket by Jonas Valanciunas with 7:09 left.
Mozgov answered with two free throws, and then Monia drilled a 3-pointer and made another bucket in a 7-0 run that provided some separation.
Monia added another 3 with 3:07 left (all of his fourth-quarter buckets came off assists by Anton Ponkrashov, who has shown himself to be a clearly superior point guard than Alexei Shved, who will join the Minnesota Timberwolves next season) after Lithuania had got back within six. After that, the key bucket came when Kirilenko tipped in a ball that was live on the rim (the one FIBA rule that David Stern wants to adopt) and was fouled in the act, making the three-point play for a 77-69 lead with 1:42 left.
Shved missed a 3 and two free throws after that, but Lithuania’s last chance ended when Martynas Pocius (who played sparingly for Mike Krzyzyewski at Duke) missed a pair from the line with 28 seconds left and Lithuania trailing by 7.
Russia moves on the play the winner of the Spain-France game. Lithuania exits with its worst Olympic finish ever since breaking away from the Soviet Union.