Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Basketball Tournament

Melo hit 10 threes against Nigeria. Now why can't
he do that for the Knicks?

Group A
Early emerged as the theme of the day in Group A.

The early game belonged to France, who woke up before 6 am.

“We can't complain, people get up every day at 4:30 in the morning to go to work. We woke up at six to play a game of Olympic basketball, how can we complain?”

These were Nicolas Batum’s words following France’s win over Lithuania.

Batum had his strongest showing yet, including 21 points. After a slow start to the tournament, Tony Parker (27 points) is also finding form and looked more like the player who led France to EuroBasket silver.

Lithuania led at the halfway point. France, concerned by the 43 points conceded before the break, tightened up defensively restricting their opponents to only nine in the third quarter. That was enough to open up a lead that would carry them to an 82-74 final score in spite of the best efforts of Linas Kleiza (17).

'Get there early' would have been the advice to fans with tickets for Argentina’s game with Tunisia, while the game was still close.

At 28-14 the score-line seemed credible, until you looked a little closer.

Tunisia was ahead against one of the most formidable lineups in international basketball history.

They just couldn’t miss.

Argentina, however, came out a differently in the second quarter.

The Argentinians opened with a 15-point scoring run led by a red-hot Manu Ginobili (15 second quarter points).

In the second half, the Africans were unable to stick with the pace. “We started well, but we couldn’t keep up,” said Tunisia’s top scorer Salah Mejri (19 points).

As they game drew to a close, Argentina extended its lead with Carlos Delfino (21 points), Luis Scola (20) and Manu Ginobili (24) all scoring in the twenties for a final score of 92-69.

“That is the difference between top sides full of experienced internationals and NBA players. Most of our players play in Tunisia, but we are catching up,” Mejri added.

Early was also when the record books had to be amended, as USA’s halftime score of 78 was the biggest ever in an Olympic basketball game on their way to a 156-73 win over Nigeria, setting another Olympic record - the most points ever scored in a game.

If USA's offensive show was breathtaking, the defense was left wide open as they conceded 25 points in the first quarter alone.

Unsurprisingly in view of the score, the USA had six players in double digits, including top scorer Carmelo Anthony (37 points) who shot 10 of 12 from beyond the arc. The USA buried 29 three-pointers in total.

"Seventy-eight at half-time and just seeing Carmelo go off in the first half and the second half, 10 for 12 from 3 (3-point range) was unbelievable to watch," said Kevin Love afterwards.

For Nigeria, Ike Diogu led the way with 27 points.

Manu Ginobili doused water on Tunisia's early run
and led the Argentines to their second victory.

Tony Parker and the French didn't have the easiest time
against Lithuania, but they still ended up winning.

Group B
Russia and Spain each won by just a single point at the London Games on Thursday to clinch the top four spots in Group B and thus seal a place in the Quarterfinals.

Australia was also a convincing winner over China and stayed firmly in the hunt for a spot in the next roound.

The Russians edged Brazil, 75-74, when Vitaliy Fridzon made a three-pointer with just four seconds remaining.

Leandro Barbosa rushed up a three-ball before the final buzzer that only hit the backboard for the Brazilians, who are nevertheless in good shape to advance with two wins in their first three games.

Spain then denied host Great Britain its first victory by making 10 of their last 11 free-throws over the final 3:01 in a 79-78 triumph.

The European champions led by 13 at the end of the third quarter but the Brits refused to go away.

Chris Finch's team got 26 points from Luol Deng and 25 from Joel Freeland.

In front of a roaring and partisan crowd, the Olympic hosts hit five of their nine three-pointers in the fourth quarter and three in the last 28 seconds.

The last made three-ball came with eight seconds to go to pull Finch's team to within one point.

Britain tried to foul Jose Calderon but he eluded them and dribbled out the clock.

"Congratulations to Spain," Finch said, "the class of our pool, no doubt.

"They have class players that make big-time plays at big-time moments, but I was proud of our players, too, who made big-time plays at big-time moments. It was nice to see us making shots and playing with confidence. I knew our team would fight all the way through."

Spain's Marc Gasol was asked about the end of the contest.

"It wasn't a case of suffering," he said. "It has been a very difficult game, with tough shots. It has been hard, but beautiful. The important thing is that we got our third victory. There is still a lot of room for improvement. We have to improve on a lot of things."

In a battle of 0-2 sides, Australia had a real fight for the first 15 minutes of their game against China, but took a 49-33 lead into halftime.

The Chinese clawed their way back to 61-52 by the end of the third quarter, but the Boomers shut them out for the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter and led 70-52.

They cruised home over the last five minutes.

The Boomers outrebounded China, 51-36, and also forced Bob Donewald's team to commit 19 turnovers.

Vitaly Fridzon (far left) hit an improbable, off-balance, three
to win the game for Russia.

Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs led the Aussies
to their first win at the expense of China.

Jose Calderon and the Spaniards were cool down
the stretch to escape the hosts, Great Britain.

Source: All images and recaps are from

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