LONDON – Luis Scola scored 32 points and fellow NBA star Manu Ginobili added 21 as Argentina defeated Lithuania 102-79 on Sunday in their opening game of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament.
Carlos Delfino, an NBA sharpshooter, contributed 20 points to boost the South American squad in the Group A round-robin matchup.
Ginobili, who also grabbed 10 rebounds, is a veteran with the San Antonio Spurs while Scola is a centre for the Houston Rockets. They are among five players Argentina boasts from the 2004 Athens Olympic gold-medal team.
Lithuania is trying to return to medal form, having taken Olympic bronze in 1992, 1996 and 2000 before losing the bronze medal game in 2004 and 2008.
Argentina defeated Lithuania 87-85 for the bronze medal four years ago at the Beijing Olympics but Lithuania avenged the loss at the 2010 world championships with a 104-85 victory in the quarter-finals.
Lithuania captain Linas Kleiza, who plays for the NBA Toronto Raptors, produced team highs of 20 points and seven rebounds.
Delfino sank a 3-pointer from the left corner at the half-time buzzer to give Argentina a 51-39 edge. The NBA Milwaukee Bucks forward scored all 12 of his first-half points on 3-pointers, going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Argentina’s only scare of the second half came with 6:18 to play when Andres Nocioni dove over a courtside barrier, bounced off a table top and went crashing to the floor beyond while trying to chase down a loose ball.
Nocioni, who played for Philadelphia in the NBA last season, was unharmed and Ginobili and Scola rushed over and helped him up.
Check out the broadcast schedule of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament on AKTV and TV5.