Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Basketball Tournament

Tony Parker gave Argentina fits as the French
rebounded after their opening day loss to Team USA.
Group A
France bounced back to beat Argentina, Lithuania got revenge over Nigeria and USA turned on the cruise control in Group A of the men’s basketball tournament on Monday.

Lithuania learnt their lesson from Caracas, where only four weeks previously had been on the losing end of a major shock at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

They built a seven point first quarter lead, which they would bring to eighteen midway through the second, managing to hold off a Nigerian team reminiscent of the one that saw the Africans crush Greek Olympic dreams.

Linas Kleiza once again proved why he is so important to Lithuania, leading his team in both points (13) and assists (6). He and Sarunas Jasikevicius made the difference between the two teams, delivering nine and seven assists respectively on the way to a 72-53 win.

Al Farouq Aminu (12 points and 11 rebounds) and Ike Diogu (12 pts, 10 rbs), were the pick of the Nigerians, who suffered lack of team play, exemplified by their total of only three assists all game.

France put their opening day defeat to USA behind them with a powerful display against Argentina, which saw them hold a slender lead for almost the entire game, which ended 71-64.

The excellent Nicolas Batum (14 points, 7 rebounds) and Kevin Seraphin (10 pts, 7 rbs) limited Manu Ginobili (26 pts, 7 rbs) and Luis Scola’s scoring (16 pts, 8 rbs) and build-up play as no Argentinian had a tough time setting up.

“We got back our defense,” said head coach Vincent Collet.

“This is something very important for the French team,” he added, saying he believed France could be the second best defensive unit in the tournament after the USA.

The result brings France back into contention in the group and brings the Argentinians, superb in their opener against Lithuania, back to earth.

Tournament favorites USA made light work of Tunisia as they passed the 100-point mark for the first time in the tournament, in spite of a very tight first quarter and an impressive performance by 23-year-old Macram Ben Romdhane (22 pts, 11 rebs).

The score gap passed the 25-point mark midway through the third quarter. It then became a demonstration of dunks and alley-oops afterwards.

Linas Kleiza led Lithuania past the upset-conscious Nigerians.
Team USA eventually rolled past Tunisia after
a tighter-than-expected first half.

Group B
Russia remained red hot at the Olympics on Tuesday with a convincing win over China. Spain and Brazil also won their games in Group B as all three victors stayed undefeated.

The Russians rolled to four straight wins counting their last two in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela.

After an opening night triumph over hosts Great Britain, David Blatt's team had to play the 9am game against China and prevailed, 73-54.

The Russians stormed into a 20-9 lead by the end of the first quarter and went to the locker room at halftime in front, 40-25.

Russia’s Andrei Kirilenko was his usual, dominating self with 16 points, nine rebounds, four steals and a block.

"He's unique," Donewald said. "It's his cutting, it's his defense, it's his rebounding, it's his running - all of his activity."

Donewald also felt that Russia were tougher in the encounter.

"I thought once the game got physical, we just disappeared a little bit," China coach Bob Donewald said.

"I don't think it was as good as we can play."

Russia isn’t a one-man team, however, with Alexey Shved and others also playing at a high level in London.

The strength of the team may be the number of bodies that coach David Blatt can throw at opponents.

"In fairness to (China) coach (Bob) Donewald, I think our team is deeper and have more experience at this high level," Blatt said.

"You saw as the game went along, we were able to bring that to the forefront."

Spain won their second in a row, coming back from a 19-14 deficit to win against Australia, 82-70.

Pau Gasol finished with 20 points and Rudy Fernandez got 17.

Spain did not have Juan Carlos Navarro, who is still recovering from his foot and back problems.

Navarro watched the game on the bench in a pair of jeans.

"He couldn't play today and we don't know exactly when he's going to be able to play," Gasol said.

"It's not the easiest situation to go through for an athlete in an Olympics."

Will Navarro be back for the later rounds?

"We'll see," Gasol said. "He needs to get healthy, first."

Australia coach Brett Brown and his players are 0-2, despite starting impressively against Spain.

"We missed a lot of shots and they got out and ran on us," Brown said.

"We give Spain credit and respect. The talent pool, they're well coached. We're disappointed with losing. It's a game we came to win and we now need to get back on the winning side of things to get on the right track."

Hosts Great Britain was denied its first victory by Brazil, who won 67-62.

The Brits led for much of the game, but the more experienced South Americans made the key plays down the stretch.

The chemistry between Marcelinho Huertas and Tiago Splitter paid dividends in the end, with Splitter catching numerous passes while cutting to the basket and finishing with a game-high 21 points. Huertas had 13 points and eight assists.

Tiago Splitter and Marcelinho Huertas frustrated the hosts
in the final quarter to snatch victory.

Pau Gasol led the Spaniards to their second win
at the expense of Australia.

Andrei Kirilenko was all over the place as Russia
blew out China.

Source: All images and recaps are from

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