Croatia, Puerto Rico win in Olympic basketball qualifiers
Italy and Serbia cruised into the championship games of Olympic Qualifying Tournaments on Friday, moving a win away from a place in the basketball field in Rio.
Danilo Gallinari of the Denver Nuggets scored 15 points as the Italians beat Mexico 79-54 in Turin. They will face Croatia, which knocked off Greece, in Saturday's final.
Italy hasn't reached the Olympics since winning a silver medal in 2004.
Bogdan Bogdanovic had 21 points and eight rebounds, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic added 19 points and eight boards, and Serbia routed the Czech Republic 96-72.
The Serbians, who won a silver medal two years ago in the Basketball World Cup, will host Puerto Rico on Saturday in Belgrade.
The three qualifying tournaments are determining the final three spots in the Olympics. The semifinals in Manila, Philippines, are Saturday, when France meets Turkey and Canada plays New Zealand.
A look at Friday's four games:
CROATIA 66, GREECE 61
Bojan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets scored 20 points and Croatia shut down Greece star Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first semifinal.
Dario Saric, a former lottery pick of the Philadelphia 76ers, added 16 points and eight rebounds.
Antetokounmpo, the rising Milwaukee Bucks star, was held to nine points. He missed all seven 3-point attempts and finished 3 for 14 from the field.
ITALY 79, MEXICO 54
Nicolo Melli scored 14 points for the Italians, who got 12 from Marco Belinelli, recently traded to the Charlotte Hornets.
Italy's victory set up a rematch with Croatia, which it beat 67-60 in group play.
Francisco Cruz scored 20 points for Mexico, which played the tournament without top big man Gustavo Ayon.
PUERTO RICO 77, LATVIA 70
Renaldo Balkman had a tiebreaking follow shot with 1:08 left as the Puerto Ricans ousted previously unbeaten Latvia.
John Holland scored 15 points and former NBA guard Carlos Arroyo had 14 for Puerto Rico, making a 3-pointer that provided a five-point lead with 35 seconds remaining. Backcourt mate J.J. Barea of the Dallas Mavericks also finished with 14 points.
Jannis Timma led Latvia with 16 points.
SERBIA 96, CZECH REPUBLIC 72
Milos Teodosic scored 14 of his 16 points in the third quarter, helping Serbia outscore the Czechs 51-36 in the second half. The star guard added six assists and three steals as Serbia shot nearly 55 percent.
Tomas Satoransky had 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Czech Republic. Jan Vesely chipped in 12 points.