Antetokounmpo, Greece Goes to the Olympics. Brazil, Spain, Puerto Rico Join Them on the Field at the Paris Games

Giannis Antetokounmpo is now an Olympian.

Antetokounmpo is making his first trip to the Olympics. He scored 23 points as Greece beat Croatia 80-69 on Sunday in one of four men’s basketball qualifying tournaments. These finals are held to determine the final spots in the 12-team field for the Paris Games.

“The best athletes in the world are competing in the Olympics,” Antetokounmpo said. “We have nothing to lose. … I truly believe we have an incredible team and we can do something special.”

Georgios Papagiannis scored 19 points for Greece, who got 14 from Nick Calathes, to secure their first Olympic berth since 2008.

“It’s really nice to qualify because that’s the first step,” Papagiannis said. “At the Olympics we want to do something really good there.”

Ivica Zubac had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Croatia, which got 15 points from Mateo Dreznjak and Mario Hezonja and 14 from Dario Saric.

Greece are drawn in Group A for the Paris Games, with opening-stage matches against Australia, Canada and Spain, which also qualified on Sunday after beating the Bahamas.

Already qualified for the Paris field: the four-time reigning gold medallist USA, France, Germany, Japan, Serbia, South Sudan, Canada and Australia. France qualified as hosts; the other seven teams on that list qualified based on their results at the World Cup last summer.

And on Sunday, Brazil, Greece, Spain and Puerto Rico took the final spots, having already won last week’s winner-takes-all qualifiers.

Puerto Rico 79, Lithuania 68

For the first time since 2004, Puerto Rico will participate in the Olympic Games.

In San Juan, the home team scored 23 points through Jose Alvarado, 18 points through Tremont Waters and defeated Lithuania 79-68. With that, they secured the twelfth and final place in the field for the Paris Games.

Puerto Rico will be drawn in a group match in France with Serbia, South Sudan and the USA

Rokas Jokubaitis scored 16 points and Domantas Sabonis scored 10 for Lithuania.

Spain 86, Bahamas 78

Rudy Fernandez is headed to the Olympics for the sixth time, a first for a male basketball player. And Spain had to dig deep to get him there.

Spain secured its seventh consecutive Olympic berth by beating the Bahamas 86-78 in Valencia, Spain.

Lorenzo Brown scored 18 points for Spain, with 14 from Willy Hernangomez, 12 from Santiago Aldama and 10 from Usman Garuba.

Buddy Hield led the Bahamas with 19 points. Deandre Ayton scored 17, Eric Gordon had 15 and Valdez Edgecombe Jr. finished with 12.

Like Greece, Spain are in Group A for the opening stage of the matches in Paris, along with Australia and Canada.

Brazil 94, Latvia 69

In Riga, Latvia, Brazil set the tone for what became a surprisingly easy 94-69 victory over Latvia with a 19-0 run in the final 3:21 of the first quarter.

Bruno Caboclo led Brazil with 21 points and Leo Meindl added 20. Caboclo made a 65-foot 3-pointer to end the first quarter — one in which Brazil went 8 of 8 from beyond the three-point line to take a 34-11 lead and stun the home crowd.

“My dad was a basketball player and his dream was to play in the Olympics,” Meindl said. “I’m doing this for myself, for him and for my family. I’m on cloud nine.”

Rihards Lomazs scored 15 points for Latvia, who got 14 points from Rolands Smits and Arturs Zagars.

“It looked like it was going their way from the first quarter,” Zagars said.

Brazil will be drawn in Group B for the Olympic Games, with matches against France (July 27), Germany (July 30) and Japan (August 2) in the opening phase.


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