Kirilenko's 16 points pace Russia's 78-65 win over Portugal
MADRID, Spain -- Russia remained unbeaten at the European basketball championship, opening the second stage of group play with a 78-65 win over Portugal on Friday.
Israel also moved closer to the quarterfinals by beating Croatia 80-75 behind 17 points and 16 rebounds from forward Yaniv Green.
Russia leads Group E with six points from three wins, as first-round results against teams that progressed into the second group stage are carried over. Israel has four.
Later Friday, Greece gets a chance to make up for its lopsided loss to Spain in the world championship final in the teams' first rematch since. Israel, which knocked Serbia out of the tournament, plays Croatia in the other Group E match.
The top four teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals, which begin Thursday.
Two automatic berths for the 2008 Olympics are at stake. Spain has already qualified because of its world title.
Nikita Morgunov's jumper spurred a 15-4 Russia run after the start of the second period, as the 14-time champions opened up a 16-point advantage before closing the first half with a 40-33 lead.
Portugal closed to 47-38 with 7:07 to go in the third, but a jumper from center Aleksey Savrasenko followed by steal and dunk by Chicago Bulls forward Victor Khryapa pushed the lead back to double-digits. Khryapa finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Jorge Coelho, one of five Portugal players to score in double figures, led the tournament newcomers with 11 points.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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With two Olympic qualifying bids up for grabs at the FIBA Europe competition, many NBA stars excelled for their home countries in Madrid. Russia was the surprise winner, with Lithuania collecting the other Olympic berth with its third-place finish. (Runner-up Spain already qualified.)
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