KOPER, Slovenia, September 5 (R-Sport) – Russia's recovery from an opening-day defeat to Italy at the European basketball championships will rest on speeding up its game, coach Vasily Karasev said Thursday.
Russia's men lost 76-69 to Italy on the first day of EuroBasket in Slovenia and must now pick themselves up Thursday against a Greek team that destroyed Sweden 79-51.
Russian big men Timofey Mozgov, Alexander Kaun, Andrei Kirilenko and Viktor Khryapa are all missing from the roster for various reasons, and Karasev said the deficit of tall players meant offense had to rest on quick breaks.
“It is a horrible start,” Karasev said. “We try to make our players realize that we don't have a chance in a slow game with tall center players. We need a quick transition from defense to offense, because we need to score at least 30 points in fast breaks.”
Meanwhile, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Alexei Shved, who top scored for Russia against Italy with 17 points, lamented his team's lack of aggression.
“We need to start each match the way we started the third quarter and try to play more aggressive and run,” Shved said. “We can only blame ourselves for our performance. In the second half, coach inspired us and we came on the court as a different team.”
Elsewhere in Group D on Wednesday, outsider Finland surprised Turkey 61-55. Three of the six teams will reach the next round.
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