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Thursday Olympics recap: Spain almost falls to host nation

Aug 2, 2012, 8:31 PM EDT

Olympics Day 6 - Basketball Getty Images

On a day that the USA routed Nigeria and looked pretty invincible doing it, some of the other supposed powers of the Olympics showed signs of vulnerability.

Now comes the disclaimer — d read too much into that. Once you get into the one-and-done medal round tournament a sloppy game a week before doesn’t matter. It’s like the NCAA tournament that way. Still, Thursday was a day to feel pretty good about the USA’s gold medal chances.

We’ve already broken down the USA’s record rout of Nigeria and told you how Russia needed a buzzer-beater to beat Brazil in the best game of the day (see the game winning shot here), now we’ve got a roundup of the rest of the day’s action.

Spain 79, Great Britain 78: The host country almost pulled off a real shocker of an upset, then in the final seconds looked like the inexperienced team that they are.

This game was never supposed to be close but Spain let them hang around. Still, Spain had a small but hard-to-lose lead in the final minutes. But Great Britain’s players just kept knocking down threes and chipping away at it — give up two, hit a three, give up two, hit a three. Then down 79-75 with 7 seconds left in the game Luol Deng hit a leaning, contested three (giving him 26 on the night) and it was a one-point game.

The British needed to foul and then hope for a miracle three… except they never fouled. Deng almost fouled but pulled up because four fouls (they needed him on the court and in international ball you are out on the fifth) but nobody else knew what to do and they watched Spain dribble out the clock. Jose Calderon had 19 to lead Spain, Pau Gasol had 17.

Spain may have been looking ahead to the big game Saturday — they play Russia. Both are undefeated and he winner will take Group B, and avoid facing the USA until a gold medal game.

France 82, Lithuania 74: Tony Parker is looking better and better with each game as he gets his conditioning back and gets used to the goggles. He had 27 points in this contest including 7 of the final 8 for France in a tight game down the stretch. Nicolas Batum added 21 for France. Lithuania was led by Martynas Pocius who had 18 points, followed by Linas Kleiza with 17.

With this win, combined with their win over Argentina previously, France is going to finish No. 2 in Group A. Which may well set them up with Brazil in the first round of medal play.

Argentina 92, Tunisia 69: Maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on Team USA for their slow start against Tunisia on Tuesday, it could have been worse — Argentina was tied with them 40-40 at the half. The second half was like a different game, the one we all expected where Argentina cruised to a win.

Manu Ginobili had 24 points and arguably has been the best player in the games, he has been fantastic at both ends of the court. Carlos Delfino added 21. Argentina is now 2-1 in pool play (and faces the USA next Monday). Argentina’s Pablo Prigioni — who has signed with the Knicks — missed Thursday’s game against Tunisia with what likely is a kidney stone.

Australia 81, China 61: Not only is China now 0-3 in pool play they may have lost their best player — Yi Jianlian took a blow above his right knee and his status for the next two games is unclear.

The Chinese came out hitting seemingly everything and took an early lead, but they eventually cooled down and Australia took control of the contest. Australia did a good job denying Yi the ball, forcing China to get its offense from other sources. Patty Mills led Australia with 20 points.

  1. rocketsbb - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Yi is a good player, but injuries kept him frm being great

  2. fanz928 - Aug 2, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    Yi is 7th tall but needs to get stronger he looks like a skinny unibrow

  3. cosanostra71 - Aug 2, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Patty Mills is fun to watch, I hope he gets signed to an NBA team soon.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 3, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      He re-signed with the Spurs already.

      • cosanostra71 - Aug 3, 2012 at 12:16 PM

        glad to hear he got re-signed!

    • adzs - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:44 AM

      I actually had the chance to speak to him a couple days ago when him and the Aussie guys were slinking around the Westfield shopping centre outside the olympic park; Despite my pleas for him to lobby to join my Hornets he confirmed he resigned with the Spurs a while ago (As someone already said) Not only is he fun to watch but hes a pretty awesome guy in real life really hope he has a great year (Y)

  4. jkrall920 - Aug 2, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Mills was with the Spurs last yr and I’m pretty sure was resigned for the upcoming as well.

  5. 00maltliquor - Aug 3, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    And THAT’S the team everyone’s saying USA has to worry about!!??? PUH-LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!! USA will dominate everyone. Damn that Bronze medal US team that gave every other country hope!

  6. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 3, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    “Still, Thursday was a day to feel pretty good about the USA’s gold medal chances.”

    EVERY DAY is a day to feel pretty good about the USA’s gold medal chances. Geeze, is there anybody out there who still thinks the USA won’t win the gold medal? If there are, I’d love to hear them explain how somebody is going to beat the USA. Once the medal round begins and it’s win or go home, explain how anybody beats a team that can play Paul, Bryant, James, and Durant for 40 minutes if the need arises? Seriously? Come on man.

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