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Olympic Basketball Saturday Previews & GameThread

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Japan v Brazil - Women's Basketball - Olympics: Day 3 Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We’re finally heading into the last three days of Olympic basketball group games. First let’s give a quickcap on how the USA Basketball teams did on Friday.

Yesterday, the USA women’s team failed to score 100 points for the first time in Group Play, but they still embarrassed Canada 81-51. Diana Taurasi scored 12 points — all on threes, but Sue Bird was the engine who made things go. She didn’t score a point in the game, but she dished nine assists compared to just two turnovers. On a team like this, she doesn’t have to play like she does for Seattle.

The men’s basketball team had a different story. They beat Serbia, 94-91. The Americans were leading 27-15 after the first quarter but Serbia was on a roll the rest of the way. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic scored 25 points off the bench. He also made 11 of 15 shots from the field! The American defense was quite poor as well. Give credit to the Serbians for their excellent performance, but Team USA has to step it up.

Group B of the men’s bracket and Group A of the women’s bracket play today in their last games, so here are the standings and a quick rundown on what’s in stor.

Men’s Basketball Group B Standings

Olympics: Basketball-Men's Team-Preliminary LIT vs ARG Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
  • 1: Lithuania (3-0)
  • 2: Argentina (2-1)
  • 3: Croatia (2-1)
  • T-4: Brazil (1-2)
  • T-4: Spain (1-2)
  • T-5: Nigeria (0-3)

The games

  • Argentina vs. Brazil, 1:15 p.m. ET - The Brazilians lost a close one to Croatia on Thursday, 80-76. If Nene and the gang can win this one, that should be good enough to punch a ticket to the quarterfinals. They cannot simply consider the Nigerians a pushover.
  • Spain vs. Lithuania, 6 p.m. ET - The Lithuanians have booked their ticket to the quarterfinals now, but don’t want to stop there. The Spanish have to win this game to keep their quarterfinal hopes and their streak of two straight Olympic finals appearances alive.
  • Croatia vs. Nigeria, 9:30 p.m. ET - The Nigerians have played more competitively than I originally anticipated. Let’s see if that can continue tonight, but I’m not holding my breath either.

Women’s Basketball Group A Standings

Brazil v Australia - Women's Basketball - Olympics: Day 1 Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Considering tiebreakers, Belarus and Brazil are eliminated from the quarterfinals. The rest of today’s games are about the number 2 through 4 seeds.

  • 1: Australia (4-0)
  • 2: France (3-1)
  • T-3: Japan (2-2)
  • T-3: Turkey (2-2)
  • 5: Belarus (1-3)
  • 6: Brazil (0-4)

The Games

  • Australia vs. Belarus, 11:15 a.m. ET - The Belarusians’ Olympic run will end this afternoon. That said, they had a solid performance in what has been a very tight division minus Brazil.
  • Turkey vs. Brazil, 2:30 p.m. ET - The Brazilians’ run will end here either way. If Turkey wins, they may be able to avoid a match against the Americans if Japan loses.
  • Japan vs. France, 4:45 p.m. ET - This should be the game of the day, since Japan has been a pleasant surprise during these Games. They gave the Australian Opals a 92-86 scare on Thursday.

Enjoy the basketball games everyone.