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Updated: September 5th, 2013 10:00pm
Shved has been solid, but Russia struggling at Eurobasket tourney

Shved has been solid, but Russia struggling at Eurobasket tourney

by Nate Sandell
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Minnesota Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved has adopted a starring role on the Russian national team at this year's EuroBasket championships.

Two games into the nearly three-week tournament, Shved has put up 17 points in each of Russia's first two games. He also leads the squad in assists with nine.

The bad news for Russia? Shved's impressive numbers haven't stopped the team from falling into an 0-2 hole after losing to Greece on Friday 80-71.

Russia won bronze at both the 2011 EuroBasket championships and last year's London summer Olympic games. But the absence of standouts like former Wolves forward Andrei Kirlienko has made Russia a heavy underdog and so far they are fitting that billing.

Meanwhile, Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio and two-time defending champion Spain are having a few struggles of their own.

After Rubio dished out seven assists and added seven points in Spain's opening victory against Croatia, the Spaniards fell apart in the closing minutes of a 78-69 loss to Slovenia on Thursday. Rubio scored six points, but had only one assist.

Shved and Rubio are back in action on Saturday, with Russia facing Sweden (7:20 a.m.) and Spain meeting the Czech Republic (7:20 a.m.). Both games can be seen on ESPN3.

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
Email Nate | @nsandell
In this story: Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved