March 4, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon (8) looks to make a pass against the Golden State Warriors at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Golden State 83-75. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

Olympics Basketball 2012: Jose Calderon Plays Well in Spain's Opening Win

Our boy Jose Calderon shined in his first game of the 2012 London Olympics, scoring 12 points—11 of which came in the first quarter—to help lead Spain to a 97-81 victory over China.

While everyone around him struggled, Calderon caught fire in the first quarter. He drained 3 three-pointers and added a pair of free throws in the opening period to give Spain a 19-17 advantage. In the second quarter, Calderon helped his teammates get involved, as Spain ripped off 34 points in the period to take a 53-41 lead into the break.

The Chinese refused to go down easily, though, out-scoring the Spaniards 19-16 in the third quarter. Led by a borderline shocking performance from NBA bust Yi Jianlian (30 points, 12 rebounds, 68.4 % FG shooting), China fought valiantly to stay in the game. Unfortunately, Spain’s duo of Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka was simply too much to handle.

Gasol put up 21 points and 10 boards in 28 minutes, while Ibaka went for 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in just 20 minutes of action. The two combined to shoot 17-26 from the field.

Both teams will play their second game of the tournament on Tuesday, with China taking on Russia and Spain facing Australia. Look for Spain to cruise past the under-manned Aussies, who will be without Golden State Warriors big man Andrew Bogut. The game tips off at 6:15 a.m ET, so set your alarm clocks early if you want to see the intriguing Calderon-Patty Mills matchup.

I’m expecting Calderon to get torched by the speedy Australian, but if he can take care of the ball and continue his hot shooting from beyond the arc, Calderon will be a valuable asset for the Spaniards.

Austin Green is the editor of Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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Tags: 2012 Olympics China Jose Calderon Pau Gasol Serge Ibaka Spain Yi Jianlian

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