ATHENS, Greece — Greece, which stunned the United States two years ago, will join the Americans at the Olympics in a strong Group B, which now includes all three medalists from the last world championships. Germany also was drawn into Group B after clinching the last available spot in Beijing by beating Puerto Rico 96-82 on Sunday behind 32 points from Dallas Mavericks All-Star Dirk Nowitzki in the third-place game at the Olympic qualifying tournament. Greece locked up its spot Saturday by beating Puerto Rico in the semifinals. The Greeks knocked off the Americans 101-95 in the semifinals of the 2006 world championships before losing to Spain in the finals. The United States and Spain, which had already qualified for Beijing, were previously drawn into Group B along with host China and Angola. The Americans sent scouts to watch the 12-team tournament in Athens, but they're already familiar with the teams they will have to get through to advance out of pool play. "It's going to be the same cast of characters,” assistant coach Mike D'Antoni said in Las Vegas, where the Americans will begin practicing today. "It's going to be Greece and Spain. We more or less know the teams that are going to be there.” Croatia earned the other spot from the Athens tournament and was drawn into Group A, which includes defending champion Argentina, Lithuania, Russia, Australia and Iran. The Olympic tournament begins on Aug. 10, with the Americans facing the Chinese in the final game of the night. Germany used strong long-range shooting to take a 48-39 halftime lead, and three consecutive 3-pointers within 46 seconds — two by Robert Garrett and one by Demond Greene — stretched the advantage to 70-54 with 1:48 left in the third period. The Puerto Ricans could not get closer than nine points the rest of the way. Germany also gave the United States a tough game in the world championships, with the Americans pulling away in the second half for an 85-65 victory in the quarterfinals. The Germans now feature Los Angeles Clippers center Chris Kaman alongside Nowitzki in their frontcourt.
Group A1. Argentina 2. Australia 3. Iran 4. Lithuania 5. Russia 6. Croatia
Group B1. Angola 2. China 3. Spain 4. USA 5. Germany 6. Greece