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Israeli-American coach David Blatt leads Russian national basketball team to bronze

JTA

August 12, 2012 | 11:15 am

Russia's head coach David Blatt reacts during the men's quarterfinal basketball match against Lithuania at the North Greenwich Arena in London during the London 2012 Olympic Games Aug. 8Photo by REUTERS/Mike Sega

Russia's head coach David Blatt reacts during the men's quarterfinal basketball match against Lithuania at the North Greenwich Arena in London during the London 2012 Olympic Games Aug. 8Photo by REUTERS/Mike Sega

The Russian Olympic men’s basketball team, coached by Israeli-American David Blatt, took a bronze medal at the London games.

The Russians played Argentina’s national team for the third place medal. The final score was Russia 81, Argentina 77.

It is the first time Russia has won an Olympic medal in basketball since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Blatt, who is currently the coach of Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv team, has helped rebuild the Russian national team since being brought on as head coach in 2006, Sports Illustrated reported. Under Blatt, the Russian national team won the 2007 European Championship.

He played for Princeton University from 1977 to 1981 and on the gold medal-winning U.S. team in the 1981 Maccabiah Games. Following the Maccabiah Games, Blatt joined an Israeli Super League team. He played for several Israeli teams until he was injured in 1993 and took up coaching.

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