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Russian basketball team, coached by Israeli-American David Blatt, reaches Olympic semis

JTA

August 8, 2012 | 3:03 pm

Russian head coach David Blatt at the Basketball Arena during the London Olympics on Aug. 2. Photo by REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Russian head coach David Blatt at the Basketball Arena during the London Olympics on Aug. 2. Photo by REUTERS/Sergio Perez

The Russian Olympic men’s basketball team, coached by Israeli-American David Blatt, has advanced to the semifinals.

The Russians will play Spain in Friday’s semifinals after defeating Lithuania, 83-74, on Wednesday in London. Russia has not won an Olympic medal in basketball since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Blatt 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.He is currently the coach of the Maccabi Tel Aviv team.

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