London: The United States scored an Olympic record 156 points as they routed a thoroughly overwhelmed Nigeria 156-73 to remain unbeaten at London 2012.
The record fell when Andre Igoudala hit a three-point shot with 4:27 left in the game to make it 139-68, surpassing the previous record of 138 scored by Brazil against Egypt in 1988.
The Americans scored 78 points in the first half alone, beating the previous Olympic record of 72 which was set by that same Brazil team against China in the Seoul Games.
Several records had tumbled by the end. Carmelo Anthony had 37 points, breaking Stephon Marbury`s record of 31 for an American player in an Olympic Games.
Their winning margin of 83 points beat their previous best of 72 against Thailand - a 101-29 win in 1956.
Australia made light work of China to pick up their first win of London 2012 in their 81-61 victory.
Patrick Mills poured in 20 points and David Andersen 17 as Australia finally got their Olympic campaign up and running at the third attempt to boost their hopes of reaching the knockout stage.
Joe Ingles also contributed 13 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.
China, for whom Wang Shipeng scored a match-leading 21 points, have now suffered three straight defeats and look set for an early exit.
NBA star Tony Parker led France to an ultimately comfortable 82-74 victory over Lithuania to leave them on the verge of a place in the London 2012 quarter-finals.
The San Antonio Spurs man poured in 27 points as the French pulled away in the second half to earn their second win from three games in Group A.
Defeat was a blow for three-time Olympic silver medallists Lithuania, but is unlikely to deny them a place in the knockout stage.
Argentina needed to rely on Manu Ginobili`s star quality as they overcame an early scare to eventually claim a comfortable 92-69 win over lowly Tunisia.
Three-time NBA champion Ginobili top-scored with 24 points but it was his ice cool in a crisis that the 2004 Olympic champions were most indebted to after a horror opening period.
Vitaliy Fridzon sunk a three-pointer with four seconds remaining to snatch a remarkable win and maintain Russia`s perfect start against Brazil 75-74.
Great Britain suffered yet another hard-luck loss 78-79 against world number two Spain but came close than ever before at the London Olympics.
Britain overcame foul trouble for key duo Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu to twice be two points down with a chance to tie in the final minute, but Spain`s poise at the free throw line kept them in front and what would have been the greatest victory in the history of the modern British Basketball programme slipped away.
Great Britain coach Chris Finch is getting fed up of the same old story.
"I had a coach who told me moral victories are still losses," he said.
"We`re 0-3 right now and we need to find a way to become 1-3, so that`s our focus right now. I`m proud of our players, I`m proud of how we played and hopefully we can keep doing that."
Deng, who led Britain with 26 points, had to sit down with four fouls in the third quarter after a controversial technical foul, and Dan Clark was convinced he had a foul to stop the clock as Deng`s three-pointer made it a one-point game at the end.
Finch said he needed to see the tape to determine if Clark had a case, but could not blame Deng for the outburst that led to his technical due to the number of fouls not given against him.
"I don`t think he`s getting the respect he deserves for an NBA All-Star calibre player," Finch said. "But Luol`s a nice guy, sometimes he`s too nice and I was happy to see him angry tonight [Thursday]."
If Clark had been called for the foul he claimed he made at the end, there is every chance Britain would still have been left needing another three-pointer at the death as Spain were ice cool at the free throw line late on, with Jose Calderon a perfect six-of-six in the closing stages.
"I think the free throws at the end were the key," said Spain`s Fernando San Emeterio.
"Always it`s difficult against Britain. I thought they played really well tonight and they put the game in their hands with a fabulous fourth quarter.
"I don`t know why we always have problems with the British but we knew before the game that it might be like this and that`s why when the game got close we were mentally ready for that."
Spain had stretched their lead into double figures in the second quarter, but it hovered around the 10-point mark for most of the game before Britain launched their dramatic late rally.
Joel Freeland made some key plays en route to 25 points, but there were also strong performances from Andrew Lawrence and Clark, who were leaned on with others in foul trouble.
"It was nice to see us making shots and playing with confidence," Finch said. "We knew our team would fight all the way and it was important to hang in there even when the gap was around 10 points.
"We got a phenomenal effort from our younger players, our role players off the bench. When we had Pops in foul trouble and Luol in foul trouble, guys stepped up and they couldn`t have picked a better moment.
"We gave ourselves a chance to win and it`s important for our guys to keep putting ourselves there."
BDST: 1523 HRS, August 3, 2012
Chanchal Ghosh, Newsroom Editor
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