Roo beauty for Bryant
Lithuania fail to reach last four for first time since 1990
Last Updated: 09/08/12 1:31am
Kobe Bryant finally came to life in the 2012 Olympics to help the United States cruise into the last four of the men's basketball tournament.
The gold medal favourites saw off Australia 119-86 in the last quarter-final on Wednesday night, though the one-sided scoreline didn't tell the full story.
The Americans went just nine-of-17 from the free-throw line in the first half and a fine run from the Boomers at the start of the second saw them get to within three points of their illustrious rivals.
However, Bryant - who had previous committed as many fouls, 14, as he had field goals at the London Games - went on a tremendous personal scoring run, hitting six-of-nine three-point attempts.
He finished the contest with 20 points while Deron Williams (18), Carmelo Anthony (17) and Kevin Durant (14) also made useful contributions for the star-studded US team.
Elsewhere, Spain kept their cool to come through a tempestuous quarter-final 77-74 against France.
The repeat of last year's EuroBasket final came to a rather undignified end as the French, trailing by some distance in the fourth quarter, lost their cool.
Ronny Turiaf took down a speeding Rudy Fernandez, knocking his opponent to the floor, and Nicolas Batum then injured Juan Carlos Navarro as he attempted to punch the ball out of the Spaniard's grasp.
Marc Gasol led Spain, who had trailed 27-19 at one stage in the second quarter, with 14 points and eight rebounds while brother Pau collected 10 points and 11 boards.
But the victory was soured by the news that both Fernandez and Navarro had received treatment after the game and were already considered doubtful for the semi-finals of the competition.
"They are bad right now," Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said. "They will go through treatment for the rest of day. Right now it is difficult to say that somehow they will be able to play."
In the opening quarter-final, Russia rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to triumph 83-74 over Lithuania.
Lithuania, three-time bronze medallists, scored 18 points in the final five minutes of the third to go from 46-32 down to 54-50 going into the final period.
But Russia came roaring back, five quick points from Sergey Monya putting them firmly on top with just over five minutes to play. His run gave them a lead they would not lose in what became a scrappy finish to the contest.
The result means Lithuania have failed to reach the last four of an Olympic basketball tournament for the first time since gaining independence in 1990.
Argentina held off a late rally to beat South American rivals Brazil and make it to the semi-finals of an Olympic Games for the third straight time.
In a re-match of the FIBA Americas Championship final last year, Argentina looked comfortable when Manu Ginobili's three-pointer gave them an 70-59 lead with seven minutes left to play.
But their rivals got back to within three thanks to Leandro Barbosa before Marcelinho Huertas came up empty when given the chance to level the scores.
From there, Argentina closed it out from the free throw line with Ginobili, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and Pablo Prigioni all perfect from the line to help secure an 82-77 win.