Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Basketball Tournament

LeBron James hit the marginal baskets as Team USA survived
a gritty stand by Lithuania.

Group A
The USA faced adversity for the first time in the Olympic Basketball Tournament for Men, while France and Argentina booked their places in the quarterfinals with wins against Tunisia and Nigeria respectively.

The Americans had their toughest challenge yet as Lithuania pushed them all the way. The defending champions came into the game hot off their record-breaking win over Nigeria on Thursday, but the Lithuanians proved a stern test, shooting well from everywhere and giving little space in the paint.

Lithuania squared the game in the third quarter with 3:06 on the clock thanks to a huge Paulius Jankunas dunk off a bad turnover from Carmelo Anthony.

The USA had shot exceptionally well against Nigeria, something they weren't able to replicate on Saturday, with their three-point percentage dropping from 63% to just 30%.

Lithuania's offense was also slicker than anything the Americans had seen in the tournament so far.

"They were quick as a unit, they played as one seamlessly. I thought their veterans led the way. We had to make big plays to win,” said USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Two such plays came in the fourth quarter when LeBron James (20 points) followed up an three-pointer with a powerful drive into a crowded low-post and shot a sumptuous floater to carry the USA home to a 99-94 victory.

France finished their game against Tunisia only four points ahead, 73-69. They gave themselves a late scare as a 20-point lead just before the end of the third quarter evaporated.

Vincent Collet spread the minutes, something he himself questioned in retrospect.

"They made it tough for us," he said. "Perhaps I opened the bench too early and this gave Tunisia a chance to come back."

Tunisian-based Mohamed Hadidane (20 points in 14 minutes) produced one of the best quarters of basketball of any player in this tournament as he led the fight-back with 15 points in the last frame.

"We changed our defense a lot, we put pressure on France for the last minutes," Tunisia's head coach Adel Tlatli said after the game. "We only played international level in 2010 at the (FIBA) World Championship so we are improving."

Nicolas Batum (19 points, 8 rebounds) and Tony Parker (22 pts) were yet again France's two most potent weapons as they confirmed their place in the quarterfinals.

After facing the 2008 Olympic champions, Nigeria had the heavy task of facing the 2004 gold medalists.

Already missing influential playmaker Ade Dagunduro, they also lost their other starting guard Tony Skinn early on.

It was the first 10 minutes that cost the Nigerians the game.

"You can't let a team with NBA All-Stars come out with a 20 (it was actually 18) point lead from the first quarter," said Olumide Oyedeji. "We had a terrible first quarter. When you consider the last two, we won those quarters"

Luis Scola was disappointed in spite of the win.

"It may seem like this game was better than Tunisia because we started better, but it is the opposite. Tonight we only played well for one quarter."

Scola, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni combined for 70 points.

Luis Scola and Argentina played well enough to
get past Nigeria and into the next round.

Nicolas Batum scored 19 as the French held
off a spirited Tunisian challenge.

Group B
Russia handed two-time European champion Spain its first loss of the Olympic Basketball Tournament for Men on Saturday, while Australia and Brazil ousted hosts Great Britain and China respectively to book their places in the quarterfinals.

The Russians overcame an 18-point deficit to edge out Spain, 77-74, behind inspiring performances by Vitaliy Fridzon, Victor Khryapa and Anton Ponkrashov in a thrilling encounter.

Fridzon, two days after hitting a tough three-pointer to help Russia defeat Brazil, spearheaded his team's comeback from a 28-11 first quarter deficit against the Spaniards by finding the range in the second period to cut the deficit to 50-42. He finished with a game-high 24 points.

Khryapa hit three three-pointers in the third quarter alone to get his team within, 47-45. His fourth and final trey came with 1:01 left to play and tied the game, handing Russia the momentum.

Ponkrashov had 11 assists, the last one led to a dunk by Timofey Mozgov that gave David Blatt's team the lead for good with 18 seconds.

Pau Gasol was fouled in the dying seconds and could have tied the game, but he missed the first of two free throws. After he hit the second, Spain fouled Fridzon, who sealed the deal from the foul line.

"We were doing pretty badly in the first quarter, down by 17 or 18, but we fought until the end and we pulled it off. This is a huge confidence boost," Fridzon said post-game.

Spain coach Sergio Scariolo paid tribute to Russia's heroes of the day.

"The play of Fridzon, Ponkrashov and Khryapa killed us. The three of them were effective," he summed up.

Australia erased a 15-point deficit with a near-perfect second half to cruise past GB, 106-75, and move on to the next round.

Patrick Mills exploded for 39 points, surpassing Carmelo Anthony's 37 in USA's win over Nigeria for most by a player in the tournament.

Host Great Britain, still in search of its first win after agonizing defeats against Brazil and Spain, was in control in the first half. With Joel Freeland providing scoring inside and Dan Clark hitting from the outside, they led 46-36 at the break.

They had their biggest lead, 51-36, early in the third period, but things unraveled from there.

Mills led a furious comeback by the Boomers as they tied the score at 53 when he converted a three-point play. Matt Dellevadova then connected from long range to give the visitors their first lead at 56-55 and they never looked back.

Down 66-60 to start the final frame, Great Britain had no answers for the Aussies, who were hitting shots from all over the court and outscored their opponents 70-29 over the last two quarters.

"This is what you live for, to play in a game like this in the Olympics. It's the best feeling," said Mills.

"We were down in the first half, but we stuck with it. You're never going to beat someone in the first quarter or the first half."

In the day's other game, Brazil bounced back from Thursday's heartbreaking defeat to Russia and trounced China, 98-59.

The result saw the Brazilians improve to 3-1 and, like Australia, enabled them to punch their ticket for the quarters.

The Brazilians jumped to a 25-9 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.

"The most important thing for us was to get a win. By winning today, we could move in the top 3 of our group," said point guard Marcelinho Huertas, who had eight points and four assists.

Leandro Barbosa spearheaded Brazil's play as they rebounded
from a close loss to Russia by blowing out the Chinese.

San Antonio Spur Patty Mills scored a tourney-high
39 points to help Australia rally past the Brits.

Vitaliy Fridzon continued to wax hot as Russia remained
undefeated after beating Spain.

Source: All images and recaps are from

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