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Great Argentina team loses final match against Team USA by 26 points, U.S. to play for gold Sunday

Aug 10, 2012, 6:26 PM EDT

Argentinian guard Emanuel Ginobili (R) c

Let’s take a moment and applaud this Argentina team. Lead by Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, and Andres Nocioni (no, really), this Argentina has battled for one another for a decade. They have been the biggest thorn in the side of the U.S. in international play, and were what prompted widespread changes in the U.S. approach to world championship play. They fought as hard as they could on Friday, hanging around with the U.S. for two and a half quarters. They played with heart, they played with intensity, and they played with the identity of their leader, Manu Ginobili. Smart, gritty, and beautiful.

Then they lost by 26 points, 109-83, because Team USA is much better.

There has been talk from some on this Argentina team that the U.S. wasn’t really all that invincible, that they were in this, and that maybe this team wasn’t that good. One player said after their last meeting that the U.S. had only won because the officials hadn’t called traveling correctly.

The spread for Friday’s game was 25.5 points. The U.S. cleared it, but it was a battle to the wire. To cover the 25.5. spread.

It was more of the same of what we’d seen from this Team USA. When they needed an answer, LeBron James would provide it, be it a nifty pass to an open shooter, or a tough finish at the rim. From there, it was only a matter of time before the three-point shots began to fall, and when the cold spell ended, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony took care of the rest. It was a barrage, and it blew open a close game.

Argentina hung in there because of some tough, and I mean tough, shots from Carlos Delfino, who simply could not miss for a stretch, no matter how contested the threes were. American ball is supposed to be the isolation-contested-jumper offense, but Argentina used that same model to stay in the game. Ginobili of course was the other huge factor, hitting floaters and slicing through all defenders. When the defense collapsed, he found Scola. But it wasn’t enough. The talent just wasn’t there, and Team USA’s pressure defense rattled Argentina just enough to facilitate the collapse.

So Team USA will face the team everyone expected them to face in the gold medal match Sunday, Spain, who toppled Russia earlier. They’ll face the biggest interior team yet with the Gasol brothers down low, and Juan Carlos Navarro to hit from the perimeter. But even with the holes on this particular roster due to injury, you have to expect the U.S. to win. They’ve been dispatching great teams throughout this tournament, and every time it looks like they might be challenged, they turn on the jets and leave their opponents faces scorched from the engines.

Argentina faces Russia in what will be the last Olympics match for this core. There are concerns about the future of the program for Argentina. But they’ll go down swinging, no matter what the final margin is.

Kevin Durant lead all scorers with 19 in the win.

  1. ambitoos - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    They can beat anybody. Even when they’re hit in the groin.

  2. lmvs2012 - Aug 10, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    No challenge!…spain no challenge! Blowout win on sunday!

  3. soflasfinest - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Anyone know what westbrookes status is? Saw him leave the court hobbling into the locker room immediately. Not an okc fan but hope he’s ok.

    • sellahh - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:11 PM

      I guess if they knew anything was really wrong, it’d all over the news… i’m not an OKC fan either but love them Westbrook

  4. mornelithe - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    As good as the Argentinian team was, let’s be honest, the only reason they got the landslide down to ‘only’ 26 points, was because in the last 6 minutes the US took their foot off the gas and played down the play clock. Not trying to take anything away from the way they played, but it’s the truth. Had the US kept the pressure on the entire 4th quarter, Argentina would’ve lost by a much greater margin.

    Now it’s time for Spain.

    • blue18hutthutt - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:23 PM

      Umm, no Argentina actually hung around and made the US pay everytime they went on a run then got complacent but when the US finally blew the game open when Durant and Melo got hot from the 3 (bear in mind they were ice cold from the 3 in the first half shooting 7-26 and didn’t score for 5min) they pulled their starters to preserve them for the bronze medal game

      It was a competitive game for a long time, and had Argentina not missed some wide-open shots off busted rotations on the US D the game could’ve been alot closer with the US eventually pulling away

      Argentina was a good, gritty team let’s not act like the US beat them blind folded and with one hand tied behind its back. This is a very flawed US team that lives and dies by the 3pt and still suffers way too many breakdowns on D

      • atahualpaoxford - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:03 AM

        I thank you for those honest comments…

        As an Argentina fan, I was hoping for the best but knew that it was almost impossible for them to win…

        They had almost no bench..and a team where 8 players out of 12 were over 30 yrs. old

        But they had an amazing run for a long time and now the team will have to start over…

        Make no mistake: it will take a while…but there are some young players that will shine someday…

        The reserve PG, Facundo Campazzo, that spelled Prigioni here and there, is only 21, almost didn’t make the team and had never played an international game( 3 friendlies don’t count), before the Olympics…

        We’ll be back sooner rather than later…
        It was good while it lasted…

      • blue18hutthutt - Aug 11, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        atahualpaoxford: I think it will be sooner than later, now that your golden generation has paved the way, they will hopefully inspire future generations of up-and-coming Argentinian talent motivated to follow their example

  5. jimeejohnson - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    USA topped Argentina in every 10 minute quarter, scoring 109 points in only 40 minutes. Call them whatever you want. These guys remind me of how dominant USA basketball used to be. They might not have Jordan, Bird, and Magic, AND Sir Charles I will kick your ass Barkley, but they do have Kobe, LeBron, and Carmelo, and these guys are winners, even Carmelo. In any case, our guys have shown the superiority of American basketball compared to the rest of the world. One thing not to worry about against Spain is who’s got more machismo: Lebron has more machismo than the entire Spanish team, let along Kobe, Carmelo, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, etc. Plus, machismo is actually overrated. Ask Argentina: they’ll tell ya!

  6. chicagosworth - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:56 PM


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