Olympic Basketball 2012: USA, Russia and Argentina impress on Day 1

Olympic Basketball got underway yesterday with each team playing their first game. The top four teams from each group will advance to the medal round.

The United States are the favorite in their pool and in the entire Olympics to win the gold. Spain is the favorite in the other pool to come out as the top seed.

There were a few teams who looked good and could pose a threat to the United States later on.

“A lot of teams,” James Harden told USABasketball.com when asked if any team was a threat to the U.S. “France was dangerous, Spain, every team. We can’t take our foot off the gas. Against each and every team we have to go out there and compete and play hard every time we step on the floor.”

Kevin Durant spoke about how close Team USA is to the finished product.

“We’re close,” Durant said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but that’s the beauty of it all. We’re all coming together in such a short time. We’re having fun playing. Guys don’t worry about points, rebounds, assists; we just want to play to win.”

Here are the results from the first day of games:

Tunisia 56, Nigeria 60

The two African teams would match up in the first game of the Olympics. They aren’t two of the better teams either while neither is expected to advance beyond pool play. The Nigerians got the best of Tunisia though winning a close one. Ike Diogu had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Nigeria and Al-Farouq Aminu had 15 points and nine rebounds. Tunisia turned the ball over 19 times in the game and will play USA in their next game where they can expect to be blown out.

Australia 71, Brazil 75

Australia proved they will be a tough team with this showing nearly knocking off Brazil who is one of the better teams in the tournament. Patty Mills scored 20 points on 9-of-24 shooting for Australia but was outdueled by Brazil’s point guard, Marcelinho Huertas who had 15 points and 10 assists. Leandro Barbosa led the Brazilians with 16 points while Anderson Varejao had 12 points and seven rebounds. Brazil passes a tough test here and is still considered the team with the best chance to upset Spain in Pool B.

France 71, United States 98

Team USA got off to a slow start but had no trouble dominating France in this one. Kevin Durant led the U.S. with 22 points and nine rebounds. LeBron James had nine points and eight assists. Tony Parker was easily contained and had just 10 points in the game. Team USA did what they were supposed to. There are a few teams with a chance to beat them in this tournament but France isn’t one of them. France is still looking to advance to the medal round with high hopes of finishing as the 2-seed from Pool A.

China 81, Spain 97

The Chinese gave Spain a scare in this one led by their lone NBA product, Yi Jianlian, who scored 30 points and had 12 rebounds. Spain is not the greatest defensive team but was on point with their offense. Pau Gasol led the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Serge Ibaka came off the bench to add 17 points and three blocks. Once Spain got their act together, they started looking like the favorite in Pool B. China may have a chance to make some noise in pool play if Yi continues to play at this level.

Great Britain 75, Russia 95

Russia is one of the more underrated teams in the Olympics this year and was impressive in this game. Andrei Kirilenko led the way with 35 points on 14-for-17 shooting while Alexey Shved added 16 points and 13 assists. The host country is basically a one man show in Luol Deng who scored 26 points on 8-of-27 shooting though.

Lithuania 79, Argentina 102

Argentina may have been the most impressive team of Day 1. They dominated a very good Lithuanian team and looked like real threats to the United States. Carlos Delfino got things going with a barrage of threes in the first half and finished with 20 points and six threes in the game. Manu Ginobili had 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Luis Scola led the team with 32 points. Lithuania is a young teal still with a chance to go far in these Olympics. They were led by Linas Kleiza who had 20 points. Jonas Valanciunas played just 13 minutes and had six points and five rebounds.

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Tags: 2012 Olympics Argentina Brazil China France Lithuania Russia Spain USA Basketball

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