Day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Basketball Tournament

Sarunas Jasikevicius led Lithuania into the quarters
by beating the Tunisians.

Group A
The USA beat Argentina, 126-97, in the last game of the Olympic Basketball Tournament for Men's Preliminary Round to top Group A with a perfect 5-0 mark.

The result means the Americans will face Australia in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

As for Argentina, the loss dropped them to third in the pool behind France and means they face Brazil in the last eight.

The French, meanwhile, will go up against Spain, who lost to the Brazilians earlier in the day.

The fourth quarterfinal match was determined earlier in the day and will pit Group B winners Russia against Lithuania, who grabbed fourth place in Group A after winning over Tunisia.

The first half in the game between the last two gold medalists - the USA in 2008 and Argentina in 2004 - was closely contested with 13 lead changes and the score tied on seven occasions.

A 42-17 third quarter run, however, spearheaded by LeBron James and Kevin Durant, gave the Americans complete control of the game as they went up 102-76, making the final frame a mere formality.

The USA led, 22-17, as Durant and Chris Paul each buried a three, but Argentina erased that deficit thanks to Manu Ginobili and edged in front, 30-29, on Leo Gutierrez's three-pointer with 1:01 left in the first quarter. Durant connected from downtown as time expired in the period for a 34-32 advantage.

With their bench providing a spark, the Americans went up, 40-35, but again Argentina came back and tied it at 45 on another long bomb by Leo Gutierrez.

Paul made a lay-up and a three-pointer to restore a 52-48 lead for the USA and Argentina answered through Ginobili and Carlos Delfino to go up 55-54. That would be the last lead Julio Lamas's team enjoyed as the USA took a 60-57 lead into halftime.

After the break, James and Durant took over the scoring load and they went up, 85-68, on the latter's three-pointer midway through the third period.

Durant had the hot hand and his teammates kept feeding him the ball. He buried back-to-back three-pointers - the second one from about 9 or 10m out - for a commanding 93-74 lead. He made eight of his first nine attempts from long range on his way to a game-high 28 points.

"We can be beat if we don't come out and play the way we want to play. We got to always turn it on. We can't just turn it on in the third quarter. We've got to focus better. This is a lesson for us," Durant said afterwards.

France overcame a 35-point performance by Chamberlain Oguchi to beat Nigeria 79-73.

With the win, Les Bleus improved to 4-1 to finish second behind the USA in the group. Their reward comes in the form of a quarterfinal match-up with two-time European champions Spain.

As for Nigeria, Lithuania's defeat of Tunisia ended their slim chances of playing for a place in the next round.

With coach Vincent Collet looking to rest some of his starters ahead of the quarterfinals, France got great contributions off the bench from Nando De Colo, Yakhouba Diawara and Ali Traore in the first half.

The European silver medalists led, 23-10, after the first quarter and 41-30 at halftime. Impressively, Derrick Obasohan and Oguchi combined for all but two of Nigeria's first-half points.

Oguchi caught fire in the third quarter and tied the game at 44 with one of his eight three-pointers.

Ike Diogu and Alade Aminu took over some of the scoring responsibilities as Nigeria went into the fourth quarter within striking distance at 56-54.

Tony Parker sat out in the final frame, allowing for Nicolas Batum to take center stage as he scored 14 of his team-high 23 in the last 10 minutes and the French did just enough to secure the victory.

"We had to battle until the end to win. We had problems controlling Oguchi and Obasohan," Collet said afterwards.

"We have to play for 40 minutes. That's the main thing. We can't play well for 10 minutes and let teams come back," Batum warned. "Oguchi was on fire. He made eight three-pointers. The good thing is that we didn't panic when they came back. We made shots at the end."

Lithuania came from behind to beat Tunisia and book their place in the quarterfinals.

Staring at the prospect of their first-ever preliminary round exit at the Olympics, Kestutis Kemzura's charges were in a must-win situation. They got off to a very slow start, scoring just seven first-quarter points.

But thanks to the inspired play of some of their veterans - Sarunas Jasikevicius, Darius Songaila and Rimantas Kaukenas - they clawed their way back from a 14-point deficit to win and finish fourth in Group A behind USA, France and Argentina.

"In our minds, we knew how important this game was, but deep inside we weren't in the right position. We were late on defense and there were too many turnovers," Kemzura said. "In the second half we added intensity. We made some important threes and in the fourth quarter we played great defense. Our bench players gave us great energy."

Kevin Durant's third quarter explosion left
Argentina in the dust for good.

Nicolas Batum stepped up in the last period to
secure France's win over Nigeria.

Group B
Brazil beat Spain, 88-82, in the last Group B game of the preliminary round on Monday and will face neighbors Argentina in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

The Brazilians finished with a 4-1 mark to come in second behind Russia, the only team to have beaten them.

Two-time European champions Spain had control of the game against Brazil in the first half, taking a 26-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.

They went into the locker room up, 44-38, at the break thanks to the scoring punch provided by their trio of big men. Pau Gasol, his brother Marc and Serge Ibaka combined for 32 points.

Serge Scariolo's team looked like they would hold on for the win as they pushed their advantage back up to nine, 66-57, in the third quarter.

Brazil, however, went on a furious run in the final frame as Leandro Barbosa scored 15 of his team-high 23 points over the last 10 minutes. He hit back-to-back three-pointers with the second one giving Brazil its first lead, 75-73 with 4:15 left to play.

Spain tried to mount a late rally, but when Anderson Varejao knocked the ball away from Pau Gasol, it resulted in a Barbosa lay-up for an 82-76 lead with two minutes to go. That play seemed to deflate the Spaniards.

"We came here to beat any team that played against us. Today we went out there to win and we won," Varejao said afterwards.

Earlier in the day, Mills overcame a rough shooting performance to make the biggest one when it mattered the most as Australia surprised Russia.

Despite the win, the Boomers (3-2) finished fourth in Group B on the basis of having lost to Spain earlier in the Preliminary Round. However, they feel confident with the way they have played lately.

"We’ve got good momentum, we feel good about ourselves. We feel good about what we’re doing," said team captain Matt Nielsen. "We’ve just beaten the unbeaten team in our pool and I don’t think we played that well. We have a bit of a game plan already and we feel confident with it. We’re not going out there thinking we’re going to lose you know, we’ll roll it out there."

For Russia, the defeat did not impact their standing at the top of the group to set up a meeting with Lithuania in the next round.

"We won a couple (of games on the buzzer) and we lost one. That’s why we’re going in the quarters in first place, we won more than we lost," said Russia coach David Blatt. "I didn’t think we played particularly well. I think we suffered a bit from the fact that the game was without significance. We tried, we wanted to play hard and I think we did that. We weren’t really, really sharp but I think it’s natural."

With his team down 79-73 with 3:13 left to play, Andrei Kirilenko spearheaded a 7-0 Russian run with a pair of free throws and a three-point play. Vitaliy Fridzon capped it off when he hit two foul shots to edge them in front with four seconds left to play.

That was all the time Australia needed to set up Mills - who up to that point was 5/15 from the field and 2/9 from beyond the arc - for a good look at a three-pointer and he made good on it.

Great Britain's men's team earned the host country its first win in Olympic Basketball by beating China. Kieron Achara had 16 points to lead six players in double figures. After a fairly even start for both teams, GB pulled away midway through the first quarter to build a 27-15 lead by the end of the period.

China fell behind as the game went on, and Chris Finch's side got that elusive win, which was just beyond them earlier in the tournament when they lost close games to two-time European champions Spain (79-78) and Americas powerhouse Brazil (67-62).

The game held another special significance as it brought to an end the international career of Great Britain big man Robert Archibald. He finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

"It was important for our entire program to get a win to make a little bit of history," Finch said afterwards.

"Our guys were up for the challenge. Certainly it was what we needed and what the basketball community in general needed."

Luol Deng, the face of Team GB, expressed his hope that this win is a building block for basketball in the UK.

"I think this is the start of something special. The talent is there. Basketball will grow in the UK," he said.

For China, the defeat saw them bow out of the competition winless (0-5) and marked the first time since 2000 that they failed to make it out of the Preliminary Round at the Olympics.

"This whole experience has been tough on our team. We lost our confidence, lost our way," said coach Bob Donewald.

This was the game-winning play: a Patty Mills
buzzer-beating three.

Pau Gasol and the Spanisg got a rude awakening
after losing to Brazil.

The Britons celebrate after their team got its
first ever Olympic win over China.

Source: All images and recaps are from

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