London Olympics 2012: Men's Basketball Day 5 Round Up Story

USA Schedule -- Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 -- Knockout Stage Bracket

Today was the last day of the group stage. We had some winners, some losers, and some teams building momentum for the knockout stage. And for the record, I did not watch any of these games. And for the record, I'll try to get the nations' win / loss record correct this time.

  • Game 1: Australia 82 - Russia 80 -- The Russians had nothing to game from winning this game, and the Aussies needed a win going into the knock out stage. And they got one due to Patrick Mills game winning three at the buzzer. It was his only FGM in the 4th quarter but the biggest one for his nation. Mills finished with 13 points off of 16 shots. Ouch! The Aussies did get things done by going to a hyper efficient Joe Ingles who had 20 points off of 11 shots. They'll need more of that as the 3-2 Australia picked up the B4 slot, and will play against A1 - the US. Russia did not play their best players very long yet still had a chance to run the Group B table. Their first loss drops them to 4-1, but they still retain the B1 seed. Sasha Kaun had 18, and Timofey Mozgov had 10. These two bigs ended up going 12 for 16 in this game. If Russia can continue to get big things in the paint from their biggest guys they will be moving on in the knockout stage. You know that Andrei Kirilenko will get to the line, Alexey Shved will drive and dish, and role players will all rotate great on offense and defense. This is a huge win for Australia though, one of their biggest wins in their Olympic history. It's kinda like Canada beating Yugoslavia in those Steve Nash days - but that was in the knockout stage.
  • Game 2: Lithuania 76 - Tunisia 63 -- Tunisia, looking for their first win, came out strong and went up 18 to 7 after one. Lithuania returned the favor late and went 26 and 9 in the fourth on their way to a 13 point victory. Our main man Salah Mejri finished the tournament with the most classic Salah Mejri line ever. I really hope we bring him into training camp, I have a whole feature called "That's so Salah" made up in my head already. Dude finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 made three. Dude was BALLIN', and wanted to get his homeland a win. The Utah Jazz have always loved big goofy dudes who have few skills other than being classified as small skyscrapers. Plus he'd be a great Ramadan buddy for Enes Kanter during the season. Like, I guess there's THAT angle. Big Ben Romdhane added 12 points, and Amine Rzig (clearly named with leftover scrabble pieces) came off the bench to lead his team with 17 points. Over the entire tournament I was blown away by Tunisia's three point shooting. They are, no jokes, a better three point making team than our NBA team - the Jazz. I think we need to take a step back and let that sink in. Tunisia went 0-5 in this tournament and finished a -91 in net points, and as a team shoots better than our team from deep. Lithuania went 2-3 in the group stage, and secured the A4 spot. They'll face off against Russia, and it's a great regional match made in heaven. Motherland vs. Breakaway republic. Lith has a lot of talent, but they did not always play their best together. In this game there was a ton of balanced scoring and sharing the ball. No doubt part of this was due to resting the starters so much. The benefit of that may be that the extended minutes got Sarunas Jasikevicius more burn, and he responded with a 5/11 (3/5 from deep) shooting night on his way to 13 points. He also added 5 assists and 2 steals. Of course, Mantas Kalnietis also had 9 dimes as well. The B1/A4 game is going to be lots of fun for sure. Two really solid teams going at it.
  • Game 3: France 79 - Nigeria 73 -- I really think France (4-1) have a strong shot to medal in this tournament. They have a lot of weapons, and one dude who can dominate a game by getting the other team in foul trouble (Tony Parker). Parker didn't have to do anything in this game, and he still finished with 7 assists in 21 minutes, and France beat up on Nigeria while Ike Diogu's double/double streak ended. Nicholas Batum had 23 points (4/9 from three), everybody chipped in, and NBA former lotto pick Al-Farouq Aminu finished with zero points in 27 minutes. Let's not forget he was drafted before Gordon Hayward. Chamberlain Nne Oguchi busted out from his slump and went 8/14 from downtown and had 35 points. He also went 7/7 from the free throw line. So, essentially, he's our next free agent target. France, at 4-1, locked up the A2 spot. Nigeria at 1-4 does not quite make it to the next round. France will take on Spain in a tough A2/B3 match up.
  • Game 4: Great Britain 90 - China 58 -- This was the battle of the two remaining teams with no wins. One team was sure to win. In the "There Can Be Only One" pride match the home team spanked China. The Asian Dragon was a hot mess, while the Brits had another horrible Luol Deng offensive performance (3/11 shooting, 6 points). They still won by dominating the glass 44 to 32, and causing 15 turn overs, while turning it over only 5 times as a team. (Nice hustle, China!) Kieron Achara led Great Britain with 16 points (3 threes, 5/7 from the FT line), and 6 rebounds off the bench. Over all the British deep ball was going in with a lot of frequency. That seems to be the way to win games in this tournament so far -- make your jumpers. Fundamentally it seems backwards to me. GB finishes 1 and 4, and gets the B5 spot, and China goes 0 and 5, and holds down the B6 spot.
  • Game 5: Brazil 88 - Spain 82 -- Didn't this game mean something? If Spain won they'd be in the B2 spot, Brazil beat them so they held onto B2 and pushed Spain (before the tournament the "lock" to win the B Group) down to B3. Spain did not play their guys much, Pau Gasol played 24 mins and had 25 and 7. Marc Gasol played 25 mins and had 20, 3, and 4. The closest guy to 30 minutes (Juan Carlos Navarro) played 27 minutes and took only 6 shots. Rudy Fernandez and Jose Calderon finished with zero points off of 2 shots combined. So, I guess Spain was 'tanking' this one to avoid being in the same bracket as the US? I guess that's the strategy here as playing France, and then the winner of Rus/Lith is better than facing Argentina and then the USA. Brazil did win this game and it looked like they wanted to win it, they shot 51.5 fg% and 47.1 3pt%. They also finished with a 31 to 16 domination of the 4th quarter. Albeit a 4th quarter against Spain's reserves. Brazil finishes the group stage at 4-1, Spain 3-2. Spain meets France in the knockout stage. Brazil faces Argentina.
  • Game 6: United States of America 126 - Argentina 97 --This was the marquee matchup, and like one of those late season games against two playoff teams, there was little really shown here. Argentina hung tough for a long while, but a 42-17 drubbing in the third put this game away. Also, Argentina doesn't want to 'show their hand' if they face the USA in the 2nd round of the knock out stage. The US went 20/39 from downtown. Yes, 51.3 3pt%. The US doesn't have a lot of overt beef inside, so this is their game right now in the halfcourt. The South Americans were, for the most part, playing for keeps. Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino, Andres Nocioni and crew wouldn't have minded winning. They would not have jumped from the A3 spot to the A2 spot though, so there were some punches pulled. Some punches still went through and connected though. Carmelo Anthony got punched in the nuts. This is a Jazz blog, so of course I'm going to mention that as a key Olympic moment.The USA ran the table and schooled Group A, going 5-0. They occupy the A1 seed and are in the driver's seat in the knockout stage - facing off against the erratic Australians. Argentina's 3-2 record gets them the A3 spot, and a matchup against Brazil. Lots of regional tension and bragging rights are on the line there.
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