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September 23, 2017

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Lithuania qualifies for quarterfinals in men's basketball

LONDON -- Renaldas Seibutis led a fourth-quarter comeback and Lithuania rallied to beat Tunisia 76-63 Monday to clinch the last quarterfinal spot in Olympic men's basketball.

Seibutis hit two consecutive 3-pointers to open a 63-56 lead with 4:45 remaining in the game and Lithuania, a three-time Olympic bronze medalist, never trailed again.

Britain sent the home fans into a frenzy by notching its first win in men's basketball since the 1948 London Games, beating China 90-58. France made sure it can finish no worse than third in Group A by beating Nigeria 79-73 behind Nicolas Batum's 23 points.

Earlier, Patty Mills made the shot of the day.

The San Antonio Spurs guard hit a 3-pointer on the buzzer to give Australia an 82-80 win over Russia that meant little for either team.

"It's one of those shots you dream of making at the Olympic Games and to do it against a good team like Russia is great," said Mills, a guard who plays for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA.

In the final games of the preliminary round, Brazil beat Spain 88-82 and the United States clinched the top seed in Group A with another dazzling offensive display to rout Argentina 126-97.

Kevin Durant led the Americans with 28 points, including eight 3-pointers. He hit one from about 28 feet.

"I really didn't pay attention to where the line was," Durant said. "When I caught that ball I was going to shoot it."

Two nights after surviving their first real test in a 99-94 victory over Lithuania, it seemed the Americans might be headed for another tight finish. Argentina shot 56 percent in the first half and the U.S. led just 60-59.

Then Durant got hot and the final outcome was all but over.

"You kind of want to send a message a little bit," Kobe Bryant said. "This was the second game in a row that this team has played us close. We didn't want to give them confidence."

The Americans will play Australia in a quarterfinal game Wednesday.

Brazil clinched second place in the group with its win over Spain.

But the Spaniards may have actually won something in defeat — with the loss they avoid a possible matchup with the U.S. team until the gold medal game — if both teams continue to advance in the medal round.

Questioned if they played to win, the Spaniards insisted they didn't intentionally lose.

"No. Never," said Spain guard Jose Calderon. "This is not our team, this is not the way we play, this is not the way. We've been together since I don't know how many years, and we always play to win. Always."

In the other medal-round matchups, Spain plays France in a rematch of last year's European championship, and Russia plays Lithuania and Brazil will take on Argentina.

Pau Gasol isn't concerned about who Spain meets next.

"The way we're playing right now, anybody could beat us," Gasol said after he and his teammates finished pool play with losses to Russia and Brazil.

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