Olympic Basketball Day 3 – Records and Ankles broken!

Day 3 was by far the best day so far in the men’s basketball competition at the London Olympics with some fantastic games, close finishes and of course USA’s record breaking destruction of Nigeria. The first game of the day was France v Lithuania and it was entertaining enough and closely contested through the first two and a half quarters as both sides traded baskets before France went on a huge run to finish the game off. Parker and Batum were excellent for France.

The boomers finally got some three pointers to fall in the Australia v China game similar to the first game after a close first half pulled away for a comfortable win. Argentina v Tunisia, not much to say, Argentina win easy enough with Scola, Ginobli and Delfino again leading the way. One point of note is that Mejri finally had his breakout Olympic game going for 19 points and 14 boards.

Brazil v Russia was the game of the day, and the tournament so far, Russia held a 8-10 point lead for most of the second half before a late Brazilian run allowed them to get all the way back and take a 5 point lead with just under two minutes to go thanks mainly to  the play of Larry Taylor. (I haven’t researched this but I’m just going to assume he is their one naturalised player, Larry Taylor just doesn’t have a Brazillian ring to it!)  Russia closed the gap to two points and then we had three huge plays in a row to end the game. Firstly Shved nailed a huge three pointer to tie the game before Huertas made an incredible lay-up to give Brazil a 2 point game with only 6 seconds remaining. For the final seconds of the game check the video below:

GB V Spain was another great game with GB almost pulling off what would have been a huge upset versus the second ranked team in the world. Joel Freeland looked like a proper NBA player for the first time of the tournament pouring in 25 points for GB to help out Deng who had 26. Spain looked lackluster in parts and when GB started making some huge threes in the last minute they could have stole the win.

Everyone knows the story about the record breaking USA v Nigeria game by now where the USA destroyed the Nigerians 156-73 with Melo going 10/12 from three on his way to an insane 37 points in 14 minutes. To be honest I was happy to see this to happen to the Nigeria, the worst team to watch in the tournament. This team have only 3 players from the team that participated in the Afrobasket competition last year, they imported a host of Americans to qualify for the Olympics and have not even set a foot in Nigeria as a team since their formation for the Olympic qualifying tournament.


Rachael was back on the court for GB v the hot shooting Russians and although she didn’t score she was effective in her 9 minutes of action picking up 5 boards, an assist and a steal.

Play of the Day

Ok so the play of the day is probably the Fridzon three pointer for Russia considering the time left, score, situation etc But you can see that in the video above and I like plays with a bit more flash for this section. Firstly I have to mention Rudy Fernandez as he had a slick behind the back pass to Ibaka for a dunk however I can’t source a video of this anywhere so check out the BBC “watch again” and skip to 2.30 to go in the third quarter if you want to see it.

There were lots of dunks in the USA Nigeria game and the pick of the bunch is this made in UCLA alley-oop be Westbrook from Kevin Love:


But my play of the day is actually, as ridiculous as it sounds, from the Nigeria team with this sick crossover that makes James Harden do the splits before Skinn knocks down the three, we see dunks and nice passes most games but it’s not often someone gets broke this bad in a proper game:



  • The main story from the France v Lithuania game, for me anyway, was the limited minutes of Jonas Valanciunas who only played 7 minutes. The 20 year old was expected to be one of the stars of this years Olympics but Raptors fans will be worried by his lack of production and minutes in each of the games so far.
  • Big Meech had a good day on the mic, during the Russia v Brazil game Shved was shooting free throws during the third quarter and Amaechi chipped in “Oh I have just noticed he has a goatee beard, I thought that was just some some dirt on his face.” He was then praising Archibald for a post move vs Spain and made a great point noting that he did a great job of “keeping his body between himself and his defender.” Is it possible to not keep your body between yourself and your defender? Or is it impossible to do? I’m confused?
  • If you are looking for one action to sum up Nigeria it would be in the play of Diogu and Oguchi as every time they made a basket they would turn and stare at the USA bench despite being down by up to 80 odd points. My favourite time was when Oguchi hit a baseline jumper near the end of the first quarter, turned and stared at the USA bench while Russell Westbrook, his man, was finishing off the fast break with a dunk at the other end, vintage Nigeria.
  • Some decent Gifs, we have Melo giving the Jordan shrug after hitting another three: Melo Jordan Shrug
  • And Anthony Davis heading to the scorers table but forgetting to put his vest on and the rest of the squad finding it hilarious:

Davis no Jersey

  • I thought Mike Carlson made a great point about Nigeria. . .  “If I was coaching them I would have them play man to man full court for the whole forty minutes and use their athleticism.” Now I’m not sure if they could have lost to USA by more than 83 points but if it is possible then that would be the way to go! Trying to speed up Team USA, is you crazy!?
  • The USA bench players spent 80% of the game standing up hooping and hollering – how many technical fouls would John Hegarty have handed out!? We wouldn’t get that nonsense in BNI!



Niall is the Co-Founder of the Courtside Collective and www.BasketballDirect.com . He was one of the founding members of North Star in 2002. He has coached at a variety of levels from kids to senior men's teams. He is currently coach of the LYIT National League team and women's college team.


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