Day 1 of the London 2012 Olympic Basketball Competition

Luis Scola unloaded a truck-load of points as
Argentina scooted past Lithuania in London.

Group A

Argentina capped a frantic and exciting first day of the Olympic Men’s Basketball Tournament with a pulsating and triumphant display against Lithuania.

There were also wins on Sunday in Group A for the United States and Nigeria.

In a classic encounter between two sides that have met in huge games in recent times, including the bronze-medal game of the 2008 Olympics that was won by Argentina, the South Americans took control with a terrific second quarter and won 102-79.

They stretched a 24-23 lead to 51-39 at halftime.

Argentina dove for loose balls, hit three-pointers and turned steals into points.

They executed the gameplan to near perfection, including the last play of the first half when coming out of a timeout.

With just a few seconds to go, Argentina whipped the ball around the perimeter and it ended up in the hands of Carlos Delfino in the left corner.

The NBA star buried a three-pointer for the 12-point lead.

Luis Scola had 14 points at the break and Manu Ginobili 12 and Argentina were seven of 16 from long range.

Scola finished with 32 points, Ginobili 21 and Carlos Delfino 20.

Lithuania tried to come back but Argentina weren’t to be denied.

The best moment of the game for Argentina came in the fourth quarter when leading 88-69.

Andres Nocioni fell out of bounds while battling for possession and slid across the scorer’s table before landing on his back.

Scola and Ginobili, his teammates on the 2004 Olympic-gold medal winning side, sprinted over to help him off the floor.

Newcomer Facundo Campazzo, a point guard, played the entire third quarter and excelled for Argentina.

Meanwhile, Nigeria won an all-African battle with Tunisia.

They stormed into a 19-point lead but then had to hold on for dear life before recording a 60-56 triumph.

Nigeria had a dream start and appeared to be in total command at half-time with a 31-15 lead.

Alada Aminu had nine of his team-high 15 points at the break and Tony Skinn all seven of his for Nigeria, but more importantly Tunisia ground to a halt when they had the ball.

They had 12 turnovers and were six of 27 shooting from the floor.

Led by captain Amine Rzig, Tunisia came back and closed the gap to two points late in the fourth quarter.

Ade Dagunduro was able to get into the lane and draw fouls, and made free-throws to put the result beyond doubt.

The United States only led France 22-21 at the end of the first quarter but had a 16-point advantage by half-time and pulled away for an easy 98-71 victory.

Kevin Durant had 15 points in the first half and ended up with a game-high 22.

"We are pleased,” USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

“We played a very good game against an outstanding team. France is so well-coached and in (Tony) Parker they have as good a guard as there is in the tournament. I thought we did a good job defensively and we shared the ball. We assisted on 27 of our 31 buckets and we rebounded the ball very well. Overall it was a good first step for us beating an outstanding French team."

Kevin Durant skies for a slam as the Americans
blew the French out.

Alade Aminu jams one home for the victorious Nigerians.

Group B

Spain overcame a nervy start to see off China, while Brazil held off Australia late on and Andrei Kirilenko poured in 35 points to lead Russia past hosts Great Britain in Group B action as the Olympic Basketball Tournament for Men got underway on Sunday.

The Spaniards looked on edge early on, but eventually settled down somewhat and did enough to register a 97-81 win over the Chinese.

It wasn't the most convincing display by the two-time European champions and Olympic silver medalists, but they will look to improve from here.

"We always start a little bit anxious. We managed to win a tough game and that makes me happy because we were practically perfect in the last quarter," said Spain point guard Jose Calderon, one of four players to score in double figures for Sergio Scariolo's side.

"Our last game was on 24 July and since then we haven't trained that much so we were missing a little bit of rhythm. But we will fix it and get better as the days go by," cautioned Pau Gasol who had 21 points and 11 rebounds in the winning cause.

Scariolo re-inserted Marc Gasol back in the starting five after he overcame a shoulder injury but team captain Juan Carlos Navarro did not start as he continues to get over back and foot ailments. He did provide a much-needed offensive boost off the bench with 14 points.

With Yi Jianlian leading the way - he finished with a game-high 30 points - China was within 19-17 after the first quarter, but Spain got their offense going in the second frame and there was little Bob Donewald's charges could do to slow them down as they trailed 53-41 at the break.

The Chinese got within 69-60 in the third period before Spain went on the attack and a 9-0 spurt in the early stages of the final frame allowed them to pull away 78-62 and they never looked back.

Earlier in the day, Brazil marked their return to the Olympic Basketball Tournament after a 16-year absence by edging out Australia, 75-71.

The Brazilians however did give themselves a scare as they saw a double-digit lead - which at one point stood at 13 - almost vanish.

The first half was closely contested with the Boomers on top 20-19 after the opening period thanks and the Brazilians edged in front 36-35 at halftime.

Ruben Magnano's team, with Marcelinho Huertas orchestrating the offense to perfection, carried the momentum into the second half to take a 56-49 lead into the fourth quarter and stretched the lead to double-digits.

Joe Ingles and David Andersen found the range late in the game to get Australia within striking distance but Brazil did enough to hold them off.

"It was a great first game and we will now focus on the next game. The team has been feeling great and we are very happy," said Anderson Varajeo who contributed 12 points and seven rebounds.

With the fans firmly in their corner, hosts Great Britain got off to an encouraging start against powerhouse Russia, keeping the game close in the first period, at the end of which they trailed 24-19.

However, the hosts' inability to stop Kirilenko - who had 17 points in the first half alone - and Aleksey Shved proved to be their downfall in the 95-75 loss as the pair combined for 51 points while Vitaliy Fridzon and Timofey Mozgov provided key contributions off the Russian bench.

Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu combined for 48 points, but Great Britain was hurt by their poor shooting from three-point range (4 of 26).

Marcelinho Huertas orchestrated beautifully as
Brazil scraped by Australia.

Pau Gasol and Spain withstood a tough stand from the
Chinese in Day 1 of the Olympic Basketball tourney.

Aleksey Shved frustrated hosts Great Britain as
Russia zoomed to its first win.

Source: All images and recaps are from

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