After an even start, France went on a huge streak to end the first quarter, scoring 12 unanswered points to lead 19-10 on Boris Diaw's jump-shot.
That prompted a time-out, and an Argentinian recovery soon followed, with Hernan Jasen's three-pointer tying it up at 22.
But just as quickly, France responded, and Kevin Seraphin gave them a 32-24 lead late in the first quarter.
Manu Ginobili's steal and lay-up made it 32-29 at half-time, and Argentina had come back to take the lead 43-42 on Pablo Prigioni's jump-shot midway through the third quarter.
It was tied at 53-53 late in the third quarter, but France kept finding ways to make little spurts, going 60-55 up on Mickael Gelabale's jump-shot and then 64-58 clear when Tony Parker made back-to-back baskets.
Ginobili then made a three-pointer to leave Argentina 67-62 behind, but Andres Nocioni missed one and Seraphin made a jump-shot to make it a seven-point game.
When Parker hit a pair of free throws inside the final minute, the lead was nine points, and France were able to see it out easily.
The USA wound up cruising to a big win over Tunisia, 110-63, but not before the African champions had given them plenty to think about in a battling first half.
Although the Americans outscored them 64-30 in the second half, Tunisia surprised their opponents and the watching crowd with their start, showing no fear in the face of their more illustrious rivals.
Tunisia took the lead several times during the opening two quarters, and some of their determined offensive play drew approving nods from the USA bench.
But they could not sustain it after the break as the USA made their experience tell.
Elsewhere on an action-packed day, Spain shrugged off a slow start to cruise to an 82-70 victory over Australia as they overcame the Boomers in the third quarter while Lithuania recorded their first win of the men's competition with a 72-53 victory over battling Nigeria.
In the early Pool B game, China were beaten by Russia 73-54 while Great Britain were edged 67-62 by Brazil in a tight encounter.