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London 2012, Preliminary Round, Game 5: August 6
August 6, 2012
The Olympic Preliminary Round has come to an end and the best eight teams in the competition will fight for gold at the O2, home of the 2013 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. Lithuania became the last team to reacgh the Olympic quarterfinals by rallying to beat Tunisia 63-76 in Group A. Four-time Euroleague champion Sarunas Jasikevicius of FC Barcelona Regal had 13 points. Australia finished Group B with a 3-2 record by edging Russia 82-80 on a game-winning three-pointer by Patty Mills. France topped Nigeria 79-73 in Group A and Great Britain collected its first win by thrashing China 90-58 in Group B. Brazil finished second in Group B by downing Spain 82-88. Brazil ended Group B with a 4-1 record and Spain was third at 3-2. Leandrinho Barbosa led the winners with 23 points. Last but not least, USA downed Argentina 97-126 to win Group A. The Quarterfinal matchups are USA vs. Australia, Brazil vs. Argentina, France vs. Spain and Russia vs. Lithuania. All four games are scheduled on Wednesday, the semifinals will be played on Friday and the medal games will take place on Sunday.
Tunisia 63-76 Lithuania
Lithuania became the last team to make it to the Olympic quarterfinals by rallying to beat Tunisia 63-76 in Group A on Monday. Lithuania was fourth in Group A with a 2-3 record and will face Group A champion Russia in the quarterfinals. Tunisia was sixth with a 0-5 record. Jasikevicius and Darius Songaila led the winners with 13 points apiece. Rimantas Kaukenas of Zalgiris, All-Eurocup guard Ronnie Seibutis of Lietuvos Rytas and Simas Jasaitis of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar each had 10 for Lithuania. Amine Rzig led Tunisia with 17 points while Salah Mejri added 16 and 12 rebounds. Tunisia had a strong start and a three-pointer by Mejri gave his team a 5-0 lead. Lithuania found a go-to guy in Kaukenas, who singlehandedly kept his team within 9-7. Laghnej struck from downtown and a jump hook by Mejri forced Lithuania to call timeout at 14-7. A finger roll layup by Makram Ben Romdhane made it a double-digit game, 18-7, after 10 minutes. Jasikevicius tried to change things with a three-pointer. He got some help from Paulius Jankunas of Zalgiris and Jonas Maciulis of Panathinaikos, who led an 0-11 run that 'Saras' capped with a jumper off the dribble to get Lithuania back in the game, 22-21. Tunisia did not panic, however, as Ben Romdhane and Mejri stepped up to force Lithuania to stop the game at 29-21. An unstoppable Mejri capped a 12-0 run with another basket but three-pointers by Jasikevicius and Kaukenas kept Lithuania within 35-29 at halftime. Rzig took over after the break to boost the Tunisian lead to 43-31 midway through the third quarter. Jasaitis stepped up with back-to-back triples and Kleiza soon gave Lithuania some fresh air, 48-39. Songaila and Jasikevicius combined for 7 quick points run that got Lithuania even closer, 54-50, after 30 minutes. Songaila capped a 1-15 run that completed the Lithuanian comeback, 54-56. Seibutis sank consecutive triples to force Tunisia to call timeout at 56-63. Seibutis stayed on fire in crunch time, as Lithuania boosted its lead to 59-69 and never looked back.
France 79-73 Nigeria
France took a critical step to finish second in Group A by defeating Nigeria 79-73 on Monday. France finished Group A with a 4-1 record and needs to wait for the showdown between Argentina and the United States of America to find out its final ranking. Nigeria was fifth at 2-3 due to its tie-break disadvantage against Lithuania. Nicolas Batum led the winners with 23 points. Mickael Gelabale of BC Khimki added 11 while Boris Diaw had 10 for France. Chamberlain Oguchi had 35 points on 8-for-14 three-point shooting for Nigeria while Derrick Obasohan added 18. Batum and Diaw shined early to make Nigeria call timeout at 6-0. Nigeria went scoreless for more than 4 minutes until Oguchi struck from downtown. Kevin Seraphin soon gave France its first double-digit lead, 13-3. Oguchi kept trying to change things for Nigeria but he didn't find help around. Meanwhile, Tony Parker and Gelabale of allowed Les Bleus to get a 23-10 margin after 10 minutes. Nigeria found a go-to guy in Obasohan, who scored 7 unanswered points which forced coach Vincent Collet to stop the game at 26-19. Oguchi brought Nigeria even closer, 30-24, but three-pointers by Nando De Colo and Yakhouba Diawara helped France to restore a double-digit margin, 41-30, at halftime. Nigeria tried to play more physical after the break and an outstanding Oguchi took over to tie the game at 44-44. Batum and Diaw fueled a 6-0 French run but Alade Aminu of Elan Chalon tied it again at 54-54. Gelabale restored a 56-54 French edge after 30 minutes. The game turned into a thriller when Oguchi downed his seventh triple for a 62-62 tie with over 4 minutes left. Batum shined with a three-point play and a shot from downtown in crunch time, as France boosted its margin to 75-68 with 2 minutes to go and sealed the outcome down the stretch.
Argentina 97-126 USA
The United States of America reached the Olympic Quarterfinals as the only undefeated team left in the competition by beating Argentina 97-126 in Group A on Monday. USA won Group A with a 5-0 record and Argentina finished third at 3-2. Both teams qualified and will face Australia and Brazil, respectively, in the next round. Kevin Durant led 6 USA players in double digits with 28 points on 8-of-10 three-point shooting. Lebron James added 18 while Chris Paul had 17 for USA. Former Euroleague winner Manu Ginobili led Argentina with 16 points. Carlos Delfino added 12 while two-time All-Euroleague forward Andres Nocioni of Caja Laboral and Juanpi Gutierrez each had 12 for Argentina. Three-pointers by Durant, Paul and Kobe Bryant against a zone defense gave USA an 8-14 lead. Ginobili took over with a wild basket-plus-foul, igniting a 7-0 run that he capped with a coast-to-coast layup that gave Argentina a 15-14 lead. Durant and Paul insisted from downtown but Ginobili, Scola and Facu Campazzo kept Argentina as close as 25-26. A three-pointer by Leo Gutierrez put Argentina back ahead, 30-29, but Carmelo Anthony and Durant allowed USA to regain the lead, 32-34, at the end of an oustanding first quarter. Argentina rested its best players early in the second quarter but found a go-to guy in Leo Gutierrez, who buried back-to-back shots from downtown to tie the game again, 45-45. A three-point play by Juanpi Gutierrez soon gave his team a 48-47 edge. Paul stepped up for USA and got some help from James and Love to restore a 59-60 USA margin at halftime. James kept pacing USA after the break and found some help from Tyson Chandler and Durant to make it a double-digit game, 66-77. Argentina struggled to get Scola and Ginobili involved and four consecutive three-pointers by an unstoppable Durant broke the game open, 74-93, late in the third quarter. A buzzer-beating triple by Anthony boosted his team's margin to 76-102, enough to control the game for good.
Australia 82-80 Russia
Australia finished Group B with a 3-2 record by edging previously undefeated Russia 82-80 on a game-winning three-pointer by Mills. Joe Ingles of Regal FC Barcelona paced the winners with 20 points. Mills and three-time Euroleague winner David Andersen added 13 while Matt Dellavedova had 10 for the Boomers, that was fourth in Group B. Sasha Kaun of CSKA led Russia with 18 points. Alexey Shved and reigning Euroleague MVP Andrei Kirilenko each added 13 while Timofey Mozgov had 10. Russia had won Group B already and finished it with a 4-1 record. Back-to-back three-pointers by Andersen and Ingles gave Australia an early 10-4 lead. Shved answered from downtown but Ingles and Andersen kept pacing the Boomers to make it an eight-point game, 15-7. Viktor Khryapa of CSKAand Kaun brought his team within 17-16 but Aron Baynes of Union Olimpija shined with a dunk-and-foul and got some help from Dellavedova to boost the Australian lead to 29-20 after 10 minutes. Three-pointers by Eurocup champ Vitaly Fridzon of BC Khimki and Semen Antonov kept Russia as close as 32-28. Australia could not find the way to the basket and free throws by Antonov tied it at 32-32. Andersen and Ingles rescued the Boomers and a layup by Brad Newley gave Australia a 39-34 lead. Patty Mills and Ingles helped Australia to stay ahead, 47-46, at halftime. Shved and Kaun allowed Russia to regain the lead, 52-57, after the break. Ingles stepped up with 7 unanswered points and two-time Eurocup champion Matt Nielsen of BC Khimki banked in a close shot to fix the score at 69-64 after 30 minutes. Mills, Nielsen and a tip-in by Andersen made Russia call timeout, 77-70, with 5:18 to go. A three-point play by Kirilenko brought Russia within 79-78 with less than 2 minutes left. Both teams traded turnovers, Mills missed from downtown and Fridzon drew a foul with 4.1 seconds left. He made both free throw attempts but Australia called timeout and Mills buried the game-winning shot at the buzzer.
Great Britain 90-58 China
Great Britain left the 2012 Olympic Tournament with a smile by thrashing China 90-58 in Group B on Wednesday. Great Britain finished Group B in fifth place with a 1-4 record and China was sixth at 0-5. Center Robert Archibald played his last game of his professional career, which included five Euroleague seasons with Scavolini Pesaro, Joventut Badalona and Unicaja Malaga. Kieron Achara led 5 British players in double digits with 16 points. Zhizhi Wang had 11 points to lead China. Shipeng Wang and Yi Jianlian fueled a 0-7 opening run but Great Britain adjusted its defense while Joel Freeland and Nate Reinking tied it at 10-10. A three-pointer by Achara soon gave the hosts their first lead, 13-12. China struggled to score for more than 6 minutes while Achara and Drew Sullivan made it a double-digit game, 22-12. A three-point play by Achara and a deep step-back jumper by Dan Clark boosted the British margin to 27-15 after 10 minutes. Great Britain kept running the floor and finding easy points in transition. Three-pointers by Reinking, Sullivan and Achara broke the game open, 39-24, midway through the second quarter. China improved its defense late in the first half but could not find the way to the basket. Meanwhile, an alleyoop layup by Eric Boateng and a triple by Andy Lawrence gave Great Britain a comfortable lead, 46-31, at halftime. Freeland shined after the break with three consecutive baskets and another triple by Sullivan kept the hosts way ahead, 57-42. It was also the start of a 16-3 run that Kyle Johnson capped with another shot from downtown that broke the game open, 70-45, late in the third quarter. China tried to change things but thousands of fans were already celebrating a historical win for British basketball.
Spain 82-88 Brazil
Brazil finished second in Group B by downing Spain 82-88 on Wednesday. Brazil ended Group B with a 4-1 record and Spain was third at 3-2. Barbosa led the winners with 23 points. Marquinhos Vieira Sousa added 13 and former All-Euroleague center had 11 for Brazil. Former All-Euroleague forward Pau Gasol led Spain with 25 points. Marc Gasol added 20 while Serge Ibaka had 14 for the reigning EuroBasket champions. Pau Gasol shined early with free throws, a jumper and a three-pointer that gave Spain a 9-3 edge. Splitter and FCB point guard Marcelinho Huertas stepped up for Brazil but an unstoppable Pau Gasol kept Spain ahead, 18-11. Former Euroleague winner Anderson Varejao tried to change things for Brazil but free throws by FCB Regal legend Juan Carlos Navarro and consecutive baskets by Ibaka allowed Spain to extend its margin to 26-17 after 10 minutes. Caio Torres and Larry Taylor shined early in the second quarter but Ibaka and Real Madrid forward Felipe Reyes gave their team a 30-23 margin. Brazil kept slashing to the basket to find easy points but Fernando San Emeterio struck from downtown and a turnaround jumper by Marc Gasol made it a six-point game, 37-31. The Gasol brothers kept pacing Spain but three-pointers by Guilherme Giovannoni and Marcelinho Machado kept Brazil as close as 44-38 at halftime. Marc Gasol shined after the break but Vieira Sousa and Barbosa helped Brazil to stay in the game, 50-45. Pau Gasol and Ibaka soon restored a double-digit Spanish lead, 57-47. Spain kept finding its big men around the basket for easy points in the paint. Free throws by Reyes helped his team to get a 66-57 edge after 30 minutes. Vieira Sousa struck twice from downtown to make Spain call timeout at 67-63. Raulnizho Neto of Lagun Aro San Sebastian and Splitter got Brazil even close, 70-67. Former Euroleague winner Victor Sada sank a corner jumper but Barbosa downed consecutive triples to complete the Brazilian comeback, 73-75. Spain struggled to score right when it mattered and a jump hook by Varejao sealed the outcome, 76-84, in the next-to-last minute. A dunk by Splitter allowed Brazil to seal the win in style.
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2012 Olympics men's basketball: July 29 to August 12
London 2012, Bronze Medal Game: August 12
London 2012, Gold Medal Game: August 12
London 2012, Semifinals: August 10
London 2012, Quarterfinals: August 8
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