Olympic Day 12 round-up
By Dave Ryan
Spain scored the final eight points of the game to defeat France 66-59 and progress to the Olympic Games semi-final in a fiery encounter on Wednesday.
In a repeat of last summer’s EuroBasket final, the Spanish held the French scoreless for more than five minutes down the stretch before Les Bleus imploded with a rash of intentional fouls.
Marc Gasol stepped out of his brother’s shadow with 14 points and eight rebounds for the Spanish, while captain Juan-Carlos Navarro finished with 12 points and six boards. Pau Gasol chalked up a ten point, 11 rebound double-double. Tony Parker and Boris Diaw each finished with 15 points as the French went home despite a perfect record in the group stage.
Diaw missed from downtown after a French timeout late in the fourth and Ronny Turiaf clattered Fernandez, picking up an unsportsmanlike foul and leaving the game on five personal. Calderon replaced Fernandez and split the free-throws to put his side up by six with 24 seconds remaining
Nicholas Batum then somehow avoided ejection after punching Navarro following a turnover, and the Spanish skipper split a pair at the line. Pau Gasol was sent to the foul line where he converted both shots to put his side up by nine and wrap up the game and Spain’s place in the final four against Russia.
Russia held off Lithuania to become the first team into Friday’s semi-final with an 83-74 victory, also becoming the first team to win an Olympic Games tie at the North Greenwich Arena as the competition moved on to a bigger venue.
Andrei Kieilenko led the way for the Russians with 19 points and 13 rebounds, with Timofey Mozgov adding 17 points. Rimantas Klaukenas matched Kieilenko’s 19 points as Lithuania’s Olympic dream came to an end.
The third game of the day also saw a repeat of last summer’s continental championship as Argentina defeated Brazil 82-77.
Luis Scola led Argentina with 17 points while Leandrinho Barbosa and Marcelinho Huertas each had 22 for Brazil.
The day was wrapped up in predictable fashion as USA dispatched Australia 119-86.
America led 56-42 at half-time but the Australians started the second strongly as Patty Mills hit five points and Joe Inglis a pair of three pointers in an 11-0 run which saw them close to within three points.
Durant sunk his fourth triple of the game to break the run but Australia were still in the game with four minutes gone as David Anderson scored inside the paint to make it 63-59.
But Kobe Bryant hit a pair of three pointers in a 9-0 run to blow the game open again, and Anthony took his tally to 15 on a fast-break to send his side into the final break leading 84-70.
The Boomers never got closer than 12 points as USA’s depth showed in the final quarter.
Bryant led USA for the first time at London 2012 with 20 points and three assists, while Mills ended his Olympics with a game-high 26 points and six boards. LeBron James recorded a triple-double, the alleged first in Olympic basketball history, with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists.