Brazil, Spain, Russia, Argentina And Nigeria Impress In Olympic Openers

LONDON — The U.S. Men’s Senior National Team wasn’t the only crew to walk away from the first day of Olympic competition with an impressive win, theirs coming in a 98-71 thumping of France in the third game of the day.

There were familiar faces (to NBA fans) on the court all day and night, as Brazil, Spain,Russia, Argentina and Nigeria all made good first impressions at the Olympic Basketball Stadium.

A quick round-up of the action …


The Aminu brothers, Alade and Al-Farouq combined for 25 points and 18 rebounds as Nigeria, the last team to qualify for this 12-team field, held off a late rally from the African champions in the first game of the day. Ike Diogu added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Amine Rzig scored 15 of his 18 points in the second-half to lead Tunisia in what was the Olympic debut for both teams.


Leandro Barbosa scored 16 points but it was his backcourt mate, Brazilian captain Marcelo Huertas, who played the hero as they held off a late push from Australia on two free throws from Huertas with five seconds to play. David Andersen scored all 14 of his points after halftime and Patty Mills led Australia with a game-high 20 points, but it wasn’t enough.


Pau Gasol was dominant, scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds and Serge Ibaka added 17 points, as the silver medalists and two-time European champs whipped China. Yi Jianlian was impressive in defeat, scoring a game-high 30 points for China, which had no answer for Spain’s depth and quality backcourt duo of Juan Carlos Navarro (14 points) and Jose Calderon (12).


The gracious hosts were no match for the Minnesota Timberwolves-bound duo of Andrei Kirilenko (35 points) and Alexey Shved (16 points and 13 assists, who sparked Russia’s dominating performance. Luol Deng scored the first basket of the game, the first for the British in the Olympics since 1948, and finished with 26 points. But he and Pops Mensah-Bonsu (22) couldn’t help the home team overcome Russia or an ugly 4-for-26 effort from beyond the 3-point line.


Luis Scola scored 32 points, Manu Ginobili finished with 21, 10 rebounds and six assists and Carlos Delfino added 20 points for the 2004 gold medalists, who struggled in their exhibition run-up to this competition but celebrated Ginobili’s 35th birthday in style. Linas Kleiza scored 20 points to lead Lithuania, which defeated Argentina in the opener for both teams four years ago in Beijing.


For a look at Tuesday’s schedule, click here!


  1. specialfriedrice says:

    not enough bigs in the US, Spain and Argentina will play for gold, no doubt about it.

  2. Jeff WIlliams says:

    Australia made a great late game push and nearly beat brazil, they shouldnt be put out of the medal equation

    • Clips Fan says:

      I agree we nearly beat Brazil, I didn’t see the match though, and our turnover situation was horrible. I did watch us v Spain though, and in the 3rd quarter that was really painful, seeing all the worst aspects of the NBL i.e. way too much perimeter shooting, panicked offense, people playing 1 on 1 rather than 5 on 5, and the full court press allowing so many fastbreak points. They actually play pretty good man to man defense, so I don’t know why that isn’t being utilised more often… We should beat China, but we really need to improve pretty much every aspect of our play. The spirit is there, as evidenced by our late game rallies, but mainly the strategy – and some skills – is lacking. We could really use Bogut or even Irving if they weren’t injured and Irving chooses Australia, but it is what it is. Looking forward to the China match though, go Australia!

  3. Willliam SAS says:


  4. Paulo says:

    Brazil will get better each game and I´m sure the team will face Spain and Argentina with a good chance to win.

  5. richardewi says:

    I agree with the Laker fan’s picks: USA–Gold; Spain–Silver; and Russia–Bronze. The USA looks more athletic and talented than most of these teams, with the exception of maybe Brazil, Argentina, and (surprise) Lithuania. I would love to see a USA-Spain gold medal matchup.

  6. lakers fans says:


  7. Lord p says:

    Yi jianlian is better than i thought..Argentina is as good as Spain..!!!

  8. heyshomy says:

    Proud of the Nigerian squad, Ike Diogu and the Aminus been representing

  9. Travis says:

    I’m surprised with LITHUANIA’s performance. Based on what I’ve seen so far ARGENTINA seems like they can defeat Spain, Brazil is wild card I expect 110% from RUSSIA every game!

    • kILLarifIC says:

      yi Jialin from china had a great game.. looking foward to seeing russians duo of kirilenko and shved in minnisota this year with my man Love, rubio, pekovic, and williams.. expectin a 7 or 8 seed for the timberwolves