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U.S. Men Face Tougher Basketball Tests After Rout of Nigeria

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- After scoring an Olympic-record 156 points in beating Nigeria, the competition is about to get tougher for the U.S. men’s basketball team.

Next up for the defending champion is Lithuania and then the Americans will finish group play against Manu Ginobili and Argentina, which placed third in Beijing and won the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games.

The Americans have won all three group games they’ve played so far at the London Games, by an average of 52 points a game.

Carmelo Anthony of the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks had 37 points and shot 10-for-12 on 3-pointers to lead the U.S. yesterday against Nigeria, which scored 73 points.

U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said the Americans will have to pick up their defense tomorrow against a Lithuanian team that includes Toronto Raptors players Linas Kleiza and Jonas Valanciunas.

“Our guys just couldn’t miss,” Krzyzewski told reporters. “Just an incredible shooting performance that’s not going to happen very often.”

Lithuania lost to Argentina and France this week before beating Nigeria 72-53. Argentina got its second win of the London Games yesterday, beating Tunisia by 23 points. The Argentineans lost their July 31 game against France.

NBA Players

There are four NBA players on the Argentina team, including the 35-year-old Ginobili, who has won three NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs.

The U.S. scored 49 points in the opening quarter last night and led 78-45 at halftime. The Americans hit 71 percent of their shots overall, and 63 percent of their 3-pointers (29-for-46). The Americans have won 13 gold medals in the 16 Olympic tournaments they have entered.

“When they shoot like this, I don’t know if there is any team that can beat them,” Nigeria’s Ike Diogu, who has played for six NBA teams, said in a news conference.

Also yesterday, 2008 silver medalist Spain held on to defeat Great Britain 79-78.

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