When the Lithuanian and Russian national teams faced off in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, it was a lesson in hoops history drumming up distant memories between Arvydas Sabonis against Vladimir Tkachenko. Those BC Zalgiris versus CSKA Moscow battles were legendary for multiple reasons.
They had just as much to do about basketball implications as it did Cold War sentiments, but now in 2012 the scene played out on the national level.
This time political ramifications took a back seat. This was about chasing the gold.
Russia took the first step on that path by advancing to the semifinals with an 83-74 win over Lithuania on Wednesday afternoon.
"Tough game," said Kirilenko, who finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds."They had a great game, we love them. But unfortunately they had to play us. We wish they were in a different quarterfinal."
It was a giant step for David Blatt's team to move forward."We've been outside that circle," Blatt said.
"We're thankful to win. It was not easy. We had to play our heart out."
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