Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 London Olympics 1st round Recap + Schedule.

The pool play is now over, 8 teams have advance to the quarterfinals and four have been eliminated.  The quarterfinals start on Wednesday and here are the recaps from each team during the first round and the schedule. 

Russia (B1)  -  Lithuania (A4)      2:00 PM London time,  9:00 am EST.

Russia finished with a 4-1 record in pool play, they defeated Great Britain and China easily.  Russia also came away with a one point win over Brazil due to a miracle three pointer by Vitaliy Fridzon and a game that stunned half the world, the Russians beat Spain 77-74 after they felt behind 20-2 in the first quarter.  Their only loss was to Australia in their final day of pool play, and the Aussies needed  a Patty Mills buzzer beating three to get the W. If Shaq was here, he would've typed "One lucky shot deserves another"

Lithuania finished with a disappointing 2-3 record,  didn't played well during pool play and they still managed to come as close as anyone to beat team USA.   Lithuania beat Tunisia and Nigeria (Honestly, who didn't?!) and lost to Team USA, France & Argentina.  All of the teams that beat Lithuania are better than them, but they were disappointing in their lack of effort, they got blown out in the first day against Argentina, struggle to beat Tunisia in a must win game, but there's hope for them, they almost beat team USA and not even Argentina did that in pool play.

France  (A2)  -    Spain  (B3) 4:15 PM London time,   11:15 am EST

France lost their first game in the Olympics to the United States and didn't looked any good after the first quarter of that game, however, they bounced back and won the remaining four games and finished with a 4-1 record.   Beating Tunisia and Nigeria was expected, even beating Lithuania wasn't a surprise, but beating Argentina was a huge plus for the team's confidence and frankly, not a lot of people expected it.

At the beginning of the tournament Spain was regarded as the challenger to team USA, how the might have fallen.  After beating China and Australia by double digits, Spain struggle vitally against a Great Britain team that isn't even close to Spain's level,  beating them just by a single point, then choked away a 20-2 lead against Russia to lose by three (77-74) and being accused of tanking their last game against Brazil to avoid facing The United States (if they beat their first quarterfinals opponent.) 

To Spain's defense, the Eurobasket 2011 most valuable player and longtime member of their squad, Juan Carlos Navarro, has been facing different injuries including plantar fasciitis and it's obviously not himself. Navarro is the most consistent player after the Gasol Brothers, he can knock down three pointers with ease and can create his own shot, unlike many of Spain's guards, he doesn't need someone else to create for him.

Argentina  (A3) -   Brazil (B2)  8:00 pm London time, 3:00 pm EST

Argentina ended up with a 3-2 record, they beat Lithuania by twenty three points in the opener, then lost to France (Which wasn't a huge surprise, but still most expected ARG to win that game) then took care of  Tunisia and Nigeria before going down again, this time to the United States.  Pablo Prigioni missed two of the five games due to having kidney stones.

Brazil struggled in the early part of the Olympics, but they still managed to beat their first two opponents even without playing their best.  They beat Australia by 4 points and Great Britain by 5, they lost to Russia by a point, then beat China by a million (Only by 39) and defeat Spain in the last game of the first round.  Coach Magnano sat Nene from their final game, but it was more of rest thing than an injury situation.

United States (A1)  -  Australia (B4)  10:15 pm London time, 5:15 pm EST

Australia went 3-2 after five games, they did better than expected.   They  started 0-2 after losing to Brazil and Spain, then they beat Nigeria and Tunisia (Again, who didn't!?) and then defeated Russia with a buzzer beating three, that last one was the only surprising result.

The United States finished  undefeated with a  5-0 record, they beat France by 27, Nigeria and Tunisia by more than 30, Lithuania played them tough and only beat them by 5, then they beat Argentina by 29. The 83 point win against Nigeria was a historic thing, most likely to never happen again.  Team USA was impressive, nothing new here, they haven't played perfect and will still get better (Scary, scary sight for the rest)

Photo Credit:  Garett W. Ellwood (Getty Images)

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