Nikola Jokic

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Serbia rolls past Australia, advances to gold medal game

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In their penultimate game in pool play, the U.S. was a Bogdan Bogdanovic three-pointer away from being taken to overtime by Serbia. On Sunday the two teams will meet again, this time with Olympic gold medals going to the winner.

Following the Americans’ 82-76 win over Spain, Serbia jumped Australia from the start on their way to an impressive 87-61 victory. Milos Teodosic did a little bit of everything offensively for Serbia, scoring 22 points and dishing out five assists, with forwards Milan Macvan (12 points), Stefan Markovic (14) and Miroslav Raduljica (11) also scoring in double figures.

WATCH: Serbia routs Australia, advances to gold medal game

Serbia shot 61 percent inside the arc and 53 percent from the field overall while limiting Australia to 33 percent shooting. The win guarantees Serbia its first Olympic medal in men’s basketball as an independent nation, and their key options were able to get some extra rest ahead of Sunday’s finale as Serbia led by as much as 31 in the fourth quarter.

Nothing seemed to work for Australia, which scored just five points in the first quarter and trailed by 11 after one period. Offensively they couldn’t find clean looks, and defensively there were no answers for the combination of Serbia’s willingness to make sharp cuts and share the basketball, and the offensive skill set of Teodosic.

The Boomers made just four of their 31 three-point attempts on the night, and with Patty Mills (13 points) shooting 6-for-16 and Matthew Dellavedova 1-for-6 they didn’t get the offensive production from their backcourt that was needed to threaten Serbia. Without the quality looks they’d been able to find throughout the tournament Australia struggled mightily, and as a result they were unable to guarantee Australia its first Olympic men’s basketball medal.

Next up for Australia is Spain in the bronze medal game.

Croatia, Serbia men’s basketball teams reach Rio; France-Canada left

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Croatia and Serbia became the 10th and 11th teams to qualify for the Olympic men’s basketball tournament, leaving one spot left for the winner of France-Canada on Sunday.

It’s the second time since the split of Yugoslavia that both Croatia and Serbia qualified for the Olympics, the other time being Atlanta 1996 (though only Croatia was independent at that time).

Croatia, led by Brooklyn Nets swingman Bojan Bogdanovic, edged host Italy in overtime 84-78 in one last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament final Saturday.

World silver medalist Serbia, with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, crushed Puerto Rico 108-77 in another last-chance tournament final in Belgrade on Saturday.

Canada and France, two teams that could be loaded with NBA players in Rio, will face off Sunday at 9 a.m. ET in Manila for the final spot in the 12-team Olympic field.

World bronze medalist France is led by San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker. Canada’s best player, Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Andrew Wiggins, decided not to play in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

The Olympic men’s basketball tournament field:

Brazil — Host nation
U.S. — 2014 World champion
Australia — Oceania champion
Nigeria — Africa champion
Argentina — Americas finalist
Venezuela — Americas finalist
Spain — Europe finalist
Lithuania — Europe finalist
China — Asia champion
Croatia
Serbia
France or Canada

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