United States

Men's Basketball: US Beats Argentina, Advances to Semifinals

The U.S. moves on to play Spain

The U.S. men's basketball team powered into the semifinals of the Olympics, beating Argentina 105-78 on Wednesday night.

Emphatically ending a stretch of three straight close games, the Americans turned a slow start into an early ending with a 27-2 run in the first half.

They will meet Spain on Friday in a rematch of the last two gold-medal games. Spain beat France 92-67 earlier Wednesday.

Kevin Durant scored 27 points for the Americans.

Luis Scola scored 15 points and Manu Ginobili had 14 for Argentina in what's expected to the final time the remaining core members of its Golden Generation play together.

Ginobili was taken out in the last few minutes of the game and saluted by the fans, then embraced by each of his teammates on the bench. After the teams headed to their locker rooms, Ginobili returned and was presented the game ball by an Olympic official.

In other action:

Spain Defeats France

Spain is back in the semifinals of the men's basketball tournament for the third straight time after pasting France 92-67 on Wednesday.

Nikola Mirotic scored 23 for the Spaniards, who won silver medals at Beijing in 2008 and London four years ago.

Spain was in danger of missing the quarterfinals after opening the Rio Games 0-2. But it recovered with three wins, including a 50-point rout of Lithuania and 19-point thumping of Argentina to advance.

Now the Spaniards not only have a shot at a medal, but maybe another crack at the U.S., which has beaten them in the gold-medal game in the past two Olympics. The Americans meet Argentina in another quarterfinal with the winner facing Spain on Friday.

France's Tony Parker scored 14 in what could be his final Olympic game. The 34-year-old returned after sitting out a three-point loss to the Americans with a toe injury.

Australia Beats Lithuania
Australia moved closer to its first Olympic medal in men's basketball by clobbering long-time nemesis Lithuania 90-64 on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.

Patty Mills scored 24 points and Matthew Dellavedova 15 for the Aussies, who have been as impressive as any team in Brazil and are gaining confidence with every trip onto the Carioca Arena floor. Australia's only loss in these games was by 10 to the U.S. in the preliminary round.

The Boomers, as they are known Down Under, have finished fourth three times and were twice beaten by Lithuania (1996 and 2000) in the bronze-medal game.

Australia, which has five NBA players on its roster and four who have won championships, will play the Serbia-Croatia winner in the semifinals on Friday.

Mantas Kalnietis scored 12 for Lithuania, which beat Brazil and Argentina earlier in the tournament before losing to Spain by 50 and dropping its final three games.

Serbia Beats Croatia
In this battle of the Balkans, Serbia defeated Croatia 86-83.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 18 points and had 5 assists for Serbia. 

Bojan Bogdanovic had 28 points for Croatia.

Neither team was expected to really contend in Rio and a trip to the semifinals may expedite a learning curve that was supposed to crest come 2020. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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