Slovenia and Spain get first wins in Olympic group C

Two games to open Olympic Group C were scheduled, and the first of them delivered a smashing debut at the Olympics by Slovenia. Later on, Monday, defending World Cup champion Spain did not find much trouble to defeat Japan.

Slovenia vs. Argentina 118-100

In its long-awaited first Olympic ever as an independent country, Slovenia proved that it means business in Tokyo by storming past Argentina, the silver medalist at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, with a resounding 100-118 victory that ended up looking closer on the scoreboard than it did on the court.

Luka Doncic scored 48 points, the most in any Olympics game for more than 30 years, despite resting for the game’s last 5 minutes. Doncic sat down while still within striking distance of the single-game Olympics record of 55 points set by Oscar Schmidt of Brazil in 1988. He nonetheless tied for second-best in Olympics history, matching the 48 points scored by Australia’s Eddie Palubinskas in 1976.

Doncic got a lot of help from a host of players. Klemen Prepelic added 22 points for the winners, while Mike Tobey had 11 points and 14 rebounds. For Argentina, Luis Scola had 23 points, and Facundo Campazzo, with 21.

Slovenia scored 30 points or more in three quarters, including both of the first two, by which time it held a 42-62 halftime lead, and Doncic was up to 31 points. After the break, a 10-20 run supplied a high lead of 52-82 that Argentina managed to whittle down, in large part because Doncic left the game with 4:32 to play and Slovenia leading 80-106.

Slovenia  wins in Olympic debut

Spain vs. Japan 88-77

Spain lived up to the expectations by downing Japan 77-88 in Group C. Ricky Rubio led the winners with 20 points and 9 assists. Victor Claver added 13 points, Marc Gasol had 12, while Alex Abrines got 11 for Spain.

Rui Hachimura had 20 points for Japan, which managed to tie the game, 26-26, early in the second quarter. Spain did not panic, however, as Rubio, Abrines, and Sergio Llull each struck from downtown in a 0-19 run that broke the game open, 26-45. Spain boosted its margin to 28-48 at halftime and kept a double-digit margin almost all the way until the final buzzer, cruising to an important victory.

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