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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hoop at the Mausoleum

Lenin must have been spinning in his mausoleum, or at least lacing up his Nikes and making jump shots. The squeak of sneakers on a hardwood basketball court echoed through Red Square on Friday evening as a team of American stars took on the 1988 Soviet Olympic-champion squad. The Soviets won 96-74. Some 5,000 fans gathered around the police barricades that surrounded the court on a sunny, breezy evening. They were treated to a wide-open game featuring a lot of fast breaks and little defensive intensity. The court, elevated 1.5 meters above the cobblestone square, was about 30 meters from the Lenin mausoleum. With the spires of St. Basil's gleaming in the sun, it was a festive occasion, not unlike a rock concert. Prior to the game, a group of horn players teamed with a band of drum majorettes to perform marching tunes. The American team, which included Adrian Dantley, Cedric Maxwell and Walter Davis, and was coached by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, received polite applause when they were introduced and throughout the game. The crowd, however, was clearly behind the former Soviet squad, roaring whenever the Olympians scored. "The game is interesting, but I don't like the commentary from our coach," said Vasya Katargin, 16, who added that he was rooting for the Americans. The U.S. team got off to a fast start, taking an early 8-4 lead, but by the second quarter the Olympians had taken command. They led 50-34 at halftime and never looked back.