Moran Roth 224.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Israel will have to beat Serbia on Wednesday night if it's to avoid an early exit from EuroBasket 2007. The national team was thrashed 90-56 by David Blatt's Russia on Tuesday night, losing for the second time in as many nights. A defeat against Serbia will mean Israel finishes rock bottom of Group A and will send the team back home just three days after the start of the European Championships.
"We lost control of the match very early on and lost our confidence," Israel coach Tzvika Sherf said. "In the second half we realized we had no chance and rested our players for tomorrow's game.
"Russia was far superior to us tonight and was better than us in every facet of the game. This was our worst game of the campaign and we gave up at a very early stage."
Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko and CSKA Moscow guard J.R. Holden dominated Israel in the paint and from beyond the arc, and were unstoppable on both ends of the court.
"I'm pleased with the win and with the fact we secured our place in the next stage," Blatt said after the game. "I am, however, not very happy with the fact we defeated Israel and with the way we beat them."
Israel, which failed to score more than 15 points in any of the four quarters, shot a miserable 33 percent from the field and turned over the ball 15 times. Russia, on the other hand, hit an excellent 58 % from the field and passed 13 more assists than Israel (19 to six).
Holden led all scorers with 18 points and also grabbed five rebounds, with Kirilenko scoring 17 points, taking 13 rebounds and passing five assists in only 28 minutes on court. Lior Eliyahu led Israel with 17 points, most of them long after the game was decided, and Yotam Halperin added 14 points.
Kirilenko found Victor Khryapa for Russia's first two points of the game, but Halperin's jumper soon after gave Israel its only lead of the game (4-2). A 7-0 run, which was capped by Holden's basket from the corner, gave the Russian's a five point margin and a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Meir Tapiro's basket from beyond the arc three minutes into the second quarter cut Israel's deficit to 27-21, but Holden answered back with a three of his own and Russia set off on another run.
Five straight points for Kirilenko extended the team's advantage to 12 points and Russia took a 40-28 lead into the interval.
A 22-4 Russia run to start the second half killed off any illusions Israel may have had of mounting a comeback. Kirilenko, Kharyapa and Holden abused the Israeli defense and opened a massive 30 point margin (62-32) with four minutes remaining in the third period.
Both coaches rested players in the fourth period, but the Russians continued to increase the gap and the game ended in a humiliating loss.