Spain Unable to Close as Brazil Comes Up Clutch
The second set of preliminary Olympic basketball games started off with some last-second heroics, as Brazil came back to upset Spain, 66-65. The game was neck and neck up until the very end, with Brazil holding the lead for most of the game.
However, Spain didn’t back down and their persistence put them out in front of Brazil in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, as Sergio Llull hit the go ahead three. Spain would hold the lead until the 24-second mark, leading 65-64, where Pau Gasol missed two huge free throw attempts, giving Brazil a chance to complete the comeback.
Nene came up big with a steal for Brazil and handed the ball to Marcelo Huertas who pulled up a jumper for the lead. Luckily for Brazil, Marcus Marquinhos, who was grabbing almost every offensive rebound, was there to grab Huertas’ missed jumper and give Brazil the lead with the put back.
Spain had one more chance to score the winning basket with six seconds left, but Llull’s last attempt could not find the bottom of the net, giving Brazil its first win of the tournament and dropping Spain to 0-2.
Lithuania Wins Tightly Contested Game for Second Win
Lithuania was able to sneak past Nigeria and win their second game of the Olympic tournament by a score of 89-80. Nigeria did all they could to try and win their first game of the tournament and led the Lithuanians for most of the game.
By the end of the second quarter, it was still anyone’s game as Nigeria lead 41-36. When the third quarter came along, all momentum shifted towards Lithuania as they put on a scoring clinic. Lithuania outscored Nigeria 29-13 in the third quarter. The scoring onslaught came courtesy of Mantas Kalnietis and Jonas Maciulis, who both scored 21 points each for Lithuania.
Nigeria, who outscored Lithuania in every quarter except the third, tried to reclaim the lead in the fourth, but it was too big of a mountain to climb. Michael Umeh, who scored 17 points, and Ike Diogu, who scored 19 points, helped their team make it a close game in the fourth, but they were not able to close the game.
The win for Lithuania is their second win of the tournament, and Nigeria has yet to win a game.
Ginobili Plays Supporting Roll in Argentina’s Victory
Argentina played Croatia in a very close game before blowing them out in the second and third quarters to give Argentina a 90-82 win.
Five players for Argentina were able to score double-digit points, but only one player was able to score more than 20 points. Luis Scola scored a team leading 23 points, while NBA star Manu Ginobili played only 19 minutes and scored only 13 points, taking a backseat to many of the other players have their time in the limelight.
Croatia did not give up, however, as they had three of their players score over 15 points, trying to keep their team in the game. Dario Saric, who lead the team in scoring with 19 points, Bojan Bogdanovic, with 18 points, and Mario Hezonja, with 16 points, tried to bring their team back from the deficit, but they were too far behind.
Argentina was too difficult of a match-up, as they outscored Croatia 51-32 in the second and third quarters combined. The win makes Argentina and Lithuania the only two teams in Group B to have an undefeated record so far, and gives Croatia its first loss of the tournament.