Andrei Kirilenko scores 35 for Russia

Slashing to the rim, blocking shots and getting out in transition in Russia’s first game of the Olympics, Andrei Kirilenko looked every bit the all-around force he was as a young man with the Utah Jazz.

“I feel great,” Kirilenko said after scoring 35 points on 14-for-17 shooting against Britain on Sunday. “Look at me. I’m running like a young deer.”

The only people happier with his performance than the Russians had to be the Minnesota Timberwolves. After skipping last season to play in his native Moscow, Kirilenko signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Wolves on Friday.

Kirilenko will be bringing Russian teammate Alexey Shved with him to the Timberwolves next season. Shved had 16 points and 13 assists against overmatched Britain.

“If I’m the Minnesota Timberwolves, I have a big, fat smile on my face,” Russian coach David Blatt said.

– Reported by the Associated Press