SAITAMA (AFP) – The USA easily beat Iran, 120-66, in the Olympic men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday to bounce back from their shock opening defeat – and players and coaches from the geopolitical rivals chatted afterwards.
The Americans had their 25-game Olympic winning streak snapped by France in their first game but Damian Lillard scored 21 points and Devin Booker had 16 points in a straightforward win against the Iranians.
Kevin Durant had another low-key game with 10 points but he was one of six Americans in double figures in Saitama.
Hamed Haddadi and Mohammadsamad Nik Khahbahrami each scored 14 points for Iran, against the team of NBA stars.
The Americans can secure their place in the knockout stage with a win against the Czech Republic in their final Group A game on Saturday.
US coach Gregg Popovich spoke with his Iranian opposite number Mehran Shahintab after the game and said: “People generally get along and appreciate each other, no matter what country you are talking about. I really believe that.
Novak Djokovic set up a quarterfinal with Japan’s Kei Nishikori at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday as gold medal rival Daniil Medvedev struggled with the heat, even asking the chair umpire who would be responsible if he died.
World number one Djokovic continued his bid for a calendar Golden Slam by defeating 34th-ranked Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain, 6-3, 6-1, to extend his winning run to 21 matches.
The Serb, a singles bronze medalist in 2008, faced a quick turnaround as he was due to partner Nina Stojanovic in the mixed doubles later.
Medvedev stayed on course to meet Djokovic in the men’s final as the Russian second seed overcame Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
But the two-time Grand Slam runner-up, who had urged organisers to delay start times after his opening match, again found the temperatures testing as the extreme weather policy was implemented.
Stefanos Tsitsipas bowed out after the Greek third seed lost 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
Tsitsipas required a medical timeout for an injury to his right leg at the end of the second set as Humbert booked a showdown with Russia’s Karen Khachanov.