| London: Russia won its first Olympic basketball medal Sunday after a thrilling final decided in the last minute.
Russia beat 2004 Olympic champions Argentina 81-77, with Minnesota Timberwolves teammates Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko scoring 25 and 20 points, as well as seven assists for Shved and eight rebounds for Kirilenko.
A three-pointer for Shved with 37 seconds remaining put Russia back in front by two points, before Vitaly Fridzon deliverd the coup de grace with a two-pointer with five seconds on the clock.
"It was that last three-point shot that did it," Denver Nuggets and Russia centre Timofey Mozgov said.
"Also our defence was our main strength. Argentina were hitting so many three-point shots, so we responded and did the same."
Argentina led 20-19 at the end of the first quarter, but the match changed when Russia went on a 12-0 streak in the second quarter, with the Russians keeping the upper hand for most of the match from then on.
Just as in Argentina`s 83-109 semi-final defeat to the United States, San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili was the South Americans` top scorer, scoring 21 points.
The US play Spain later Sunday in the final.
First Published: Sunday, August 12, 2012, 23:08