While almost everyone seemed transfixed by the first appearance of the NBA players on the U.S. national team, the breakaway republics of Lithuania and Croatia won their first Olympic games. Also, it was the debut of the Unified Team, the technical defending champion, and Germany returned as a united team.
Detlef Schrempf of the Indiana Pacers had 26 points and nine rebounds as Germany made its first Olympic basketball appearance since 1936, defeating Spain, 83-74, in a Group A preliminary game. In another Group A game, Drazen Petrovic, who plays for the New Jersey Nets, had 22 points to lead the offense, and Chicago Bulls’ draft choice Toni Kukoc was the defensive stopper for Croatia, which defeated Brazil, 93-76. Croatia has seven members of the team that won the silver medal in 1988 as Yugoslavia.
Victor Tikhonenko had 18 points to lead the Unified Team past Venezuela, 78-64, in a Group B game. Alexander Volkov, who played for the Atlanta Hawks, had 11 points and seven rebounds.
In two other Group B preliminary-round games, Lithuania defeated China, 112-75, and Australia a beat Puerto Rico, 116-76.