Olympic Basketball 2012: Complete Listing of Team USA's Early Round Games
Since basketball debuted as an Olympic sport at the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany, the United States has won 13 of a possible 17 gold medals, including the most recent summer games held in 2088 in Beijing, China.
To get to the medal round, Team USA needs to get through group play first. Virtually every other team in Group A has some sort of NBA experience on their rosters, from current players to former All-Stars and veterans who have since taken their games overseas.
While they remain the prohibitive favorite to dominate the competition in London, LeBron James and company can be sure that teams will throw everything that they have at them along the way in an attempt to knock them off course.
Let's take a look at who Team USA has on tap in the opening round of group play and when all the action is going down.
7/29: USA vs. France, 9:30 AM EST
The US takes on France in their first game of group play at the 2012 Olympics.
France's roster features six NBA players, led by San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, who is joined by Portland guard Nicholas Batum, Miami center Ronny Turiaf and his fellow Spur, forward Boris Diaw in the starting lineup.
Washington's Kevin Seraphin backs up Turiaf at the center position while newly-signed Spurs guard Nando de Colo will serve as Batum's primary backup.
7/31: Tunisia vs. USA, 5:15 PM EST
Tunisia's national team makes its first ever Olympic appearance in 2012, and led by 7'1" center Salah Mejri, they are a confident yet realistic group, as Mejri told Fiba.com: "We are going to the Olympics to compete, and realistically, we expect to win one or two games."
It's unlikely that the Americans will serve as one of those wins. The two countries last met in the preliminary round of the 2010 World Championships, a game the US only led by six at halftime but ultimately ran away with, winning 92-57. Eric Gordon, not on the 2012 US Olympic team, led all scorers with 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field.
8/2: USA vs. Nigeria, 5:15 PM EST
Eight players on Team Nigeria have ties to the United States, including current Hornets small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, former Warriors lottery pick Ike Diogu and Tony Skinn, who ran the point for the 2006 George Mason University squad that advanced to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.
They had to fight their way to London, barely beating Greece 80-79 before having an easier time against the John Calipari-coached Dominican Republic squad, 88-73. A confident group, Nigeria could keep things closer than some might imagine when they take on Team USA.
8/4: Lithuania vs. USA, 9:30 AM EST
Lithuania lost only one game in group play at the 2008 Olympics but failed to medal, losing to Spain in the semifinals before falling to Argentina in the bronze medal game.
Team Lithuania brings some NBA experience to the table, with a pair of teammates, Raptors small forward Linas Kleiza and center Jonas Valančiūnas lead the way. Former Pacers and Warriors point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius and power forward Darius Songalia, last with the 76ers, come off of the bench.
8/6: Argentina vs. USA, 5:15 PM EST
In their final action in group play, Team USA takes on the bronze medalists from the 2008 games in Beijing, Argentina.
Argentina features three players with NBA experience in their starting lineup, led by Spurs swingman Manu Ginobili. Joining him are Phoenix Suns forward Luis Scola and Andres Nocioni, who played for the Bulls, Kings and 76ers over parts of nine seasons.
Point Guard Pablo Prigioni will be playing for the Knicks in the 2012-13 season, while Bucks swingman Carlos Delfino backs up Ginobili.
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