The Olympic basketball quarter-finals got underway today as the men’s tournament now enters the knockout phases and the race for gold intensifies.
AUSTRALIA HAMMER LITHUANIA
For Lithuania, it’s a second straight elimination in the last eight of an Olympic basketball tournament; for the Boomers, it’s a first semi-final appearance since the Sydney Games of 2000.
Australia were comfortable 90-64 victors over the Baltic giants behind 24 points from the evergreen Patty Mills and 16 from Aron Baynes as the Boomers raced into a 26-17 lead after the first and never looked back.
Mantas Kalnietis led Lithuania with 12 points as they taste defeat at the quarter-final at back-to-back Olympics.
SPAIN DOMINATE FRANCE FOR LAST FOUR SPOT
It’s typical that Spain would find a higher gear in knockout stages; when it matters most.
And despite an average group stage campaign where they needed to beat Argentina in the final game to qualify, a passage that under coach Sergio Scariolo is a norm, they stepped it up by thrashing France 92-67 in the quarter-finals.
And if they play like they did here, then they will certainly give the USA a big challenge.
Nikola Mirotic hit 23 points and drilled five three-pointers as the Spanish pulled away in the third quarter after taking a double-digit cushion in the second frame.
USA, PACED BY KEVIN DURANT, BEAT ARGENTINA
As Argentina prepares to usher in a new era, the USA continues to roll in Rio as they rediscovered their form with a convincing 105-78 win over the South American outfit to set up a semi-final meeting with Spain in a rematch of the Beijing and London Games of 2008 and 2012, respectively.
Kevin Durant led the Americans with 27 points as they broke the game open in the second quarter, following a slow start where Argentina enjoyed a 19-9 lead at one stage.
Luis Scola, who later said that he would not retire from international basketball, led Argentina with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
SERBIA EDGE CROATIA
Serbia were narrow 86-83 winners over Croatia as they set up a semi-final date with Australia in their first Olympic appearance since 2004.
In the closest game of the day, the Serbs saw a 14-point third quarter lead melt away in the final frame as the Croats got within one several times down the stretch. But with time running out on them, Serbia had to foul to stop the clock and Milos Teodosic and Nikola Jokic made good on their trips to the free-throw line in the final 18 seconds.
Bogdan Bogdaovic led Serbia with 18 points.