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OKC Thunder center Nenad Krstic released from police custody following Serbia-Greece brawl

Krstic threw punches, grabbed a Greece forward by the throat and tossed a chair during the fight. His Serbia team is scheduled to play in the FIBA World Championships on Aug. 28.
From Wire Reports Modified: August 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm •  Published: August 20, 2010

/articleid/3487025/1/pictures/1102788">Photo - Nenad  Krstic, left, of Serbia throws a chair toward Greece's Yannis Bouroussis, third left, who did not take part in the game, during the Acropolis tournament at the indoor Olympic stadium of Athens, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010. The friendly basketball tournament finished in a brawl as the last game between Serbia and Greece was abandoned with 2:40 to go when a fight broke out and the benches cleared on Thursday. (AP Photo/Icon, Yiannis Liakos)
Nenad Krstic, left, of Serbia throws a chair toward Greece's Yannis Bouroussis, third left, who did not take part in the game, during the Acropolis tournament at the indoor Olympic stadium of Athens, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010. The friendly basketball tournament finished in a brawl as the last game between Serbia and Greece was abandoned with 2:40 to go when a fight broke out and the benches cleared on Thursday. (AP Photo/Icon, Yiannis Liakos)
coach Mike Krzyzewski said he showed his team footage of the brawl as an example.

“We just told our guys that if something happens to walk away and not to pull anyone from another team, to just pull your teammate,” Krzyzewski said in Madrid, where the Americans have been preparing. “This is not about getting into a fight but playing basketball — and you can be suspended. You represent your country so you shouldn't do that.”

Krzyzewski said that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, teammates of Krstic on the Thunder, were “surprised because he is such a quiet guy, smiling all the time.”

Thunder general manager Sam Presti said he spoke with Krstic on Friday.

“He recognizes that this is an unfortunate situation and he is regretful for his actions,” Presti said in a statement. “He has apologized to the Greek national team and has reached out personally to specific members of the Greek team. He is looking forward to continuing his preparation for the world championships and representing his country.”

U.S. forward Lamar Odom said his team would avoid being carried away by their emotions when they face Greece in an exhibition game next week in Athens, and later during the tournament.

“We understand that if something like that were to happen with us it would be worldwide news,” Odom said, “so that's something we won't let happen.”

Greece's deputy culture and tourism minister Giorgos Nikitiadis, whose portfolio includes sports, condemned the “regrettable incidents.”

Nikitiadis said Greek authorities would not tolerate sports violence, “especially from those who, although they wear their national symbols, are not aware that they represent their country — not themselves.”

Serbia and Greece are scheduled to play in the basketball world championships beginning Aug. 28 in Turkey, although they are in separate groups for the preliminary round.

Serbia plays in Group A with Angola, Argentina, Australia, Germany and Jordan, while Greece, the runner-up at the last worlds in 2006, is in Group C with China, the Ivory Coast, Puerto Rico, Russia and Turkey.

Group B features Slovenia, Brazil, Croatia, Iran, Tunisia and the United States, and Group D contains Canada, France, Lebanon, Lithuania, New Zealand and defending champion Spain.

Watch video of the brawl

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