Team GB lose heavily in Olympic basketball

Team GB lose heavily in Olympic basketball
By Eurosport

30/07/2012 at 08:57Updated 30/07/2012 at 09:03

Joel Freeland is refusing to hit the panic button after Great Britain lost heavily in their opening men's basketball clash with Russia.

Great Britain were always facing a challenge in their first Olympic appearance since London last staged the Games in 1948 and lost 95-75 in a game that was never close.

On paper Great Britain should lose every match here, they are ranked 49th in the world and they face opponents all positioned inside the top 13.

In addition they have won just two of their 12 warm-up games as injuries and absences have given coach Chris Finch repeated headaches.

Russia, world number 11, are one the 'weaker' teams they play but they outclassed the hosts with Andrei Kirilenko the star as he celebrated his return to the NBA by putting Finch's hosts to the sword with 35 points.

Kirilenko, the number one player in Europe this season, has just inked a $20 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves and he dominated Finch's team in a brilliant all-around performance, contributing 35 points

However, Freeland had no excuses - insisting that despite the crackling atmosphere, it was results that mattered.

"But if we can just minimise the turnovers and the little mistakes and errors then we will be able to put together a more complete game," said Freeland, who has just signed for NBA side Portland Trail Blazers.

"If you turn the ball over at the top of the three point line then how are you going to get back? That killed us.

"But overall it was a great feeling walking out there in front of our fans that were behind us the whole time.

"The more they stay behind us the more they will give us the strength to keep going in this tournament and improve like we know we can."

Chicago Bulls All-Star Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu lead the way for Team GB with 26 and 22 points respectively but the gulf between the sides was clear.

And it won't get any easier for Great Britain next game will see them take on world number 13 side Brazil on Tuesday afternoon.

"I think that sometimes we try and do things we can’t do," he said.

"We can’t do something flash – that is not in our capabilities. They are all fixable problems though and it is far from a crisis."