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Luis Scola looks like the best player at the World Championships

Sep 7, 2010, 4:56 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Scola_Argentina.jpgHoly Scola Batman!

Luis Scola made a pretty convincing case that it is he, not Kevin Durant, who has been the best player at the FIBA World Championships. Tuesday Scola had a stunning performance. Even the shots he tried to miss went in.

Scola dropped in 37 points, shooting 13 of 19 inside the arc, and had 9 rebounds leading Argentina to a dramatic 93-89 win. Lest you think this was a one-time thing, he leads the tournament averaging 30.3 a game.

Look at his play down the stretch Tuesday:

* 3:00 left and Argentina up two he runs a pretty little pick-and-pop with Pablo Prigioni and drains the open 17 footer.

* 2:18 left he spots up alone on the weakside elbow extended, and when Brazil overloads the strong side he gets a cross-court pass. Scola sees Anderson Varejao charging at out, so he pump fakes him, drives the right side of the lane and puts up a high arching floating layup that he banks in over seven-foot Tiago Splitter.

* 1:04 left he gets the ball on the right block with Anderson Varejao playing him physicall, but Scola bumps his way into the middle of the court and hits a 15-foot turnaround fade away over him. Beautiful shot.

* Next Brazil possession they run a pick-and-roll with Toronto’s Leandro Barbosa handling the ball and Varejao setting the pick. Scola show out hard to slow down Barbosa and when Barbosa tries to blow by him Scola steals the ball with some quick hands.

* :25 seconds left (this is the possession after his steal) and after letting some time run off the clock Argentina runs that same little pick-an-pop play from the left side and despite the shot being contested this time Scola knocks down the 18 footer.

* :01.2 seconds left and Scola is fouled, Argentina up two (this was an intentional foul by Brazil). Scola hits the first to make it a three point game, then tries to miss the second so Brazil have to try a desperation heave (players in FIBA ball cannot call a timeout). Scola’s shot hit the backboard and went in anyway.

That’s 10 points and a crucial steal in the final three minutes.

Scola has never had to breakout and lead the Houston Rockets the way he has Argentina. But you watch this play and you realize why he is so valuable to Houston — this is a guy who can quietly do a lot and can perform under pressure.

And with apologies to Durant, so far Scola is the FIBA World Championships MVP. But there are some big games ahead to finalize that decision.

  1. Zachariah Blott - Sep 7, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    Hoops Karma will have an article tomorrow ranking all of the top post players in the NBA based on 3 different advanced impact stats (e.g. Adjusted Plus/Minus) – see how Luis Scola does. So far we’ve looked at PG’s and Wings. Check it out:

  2. MIchael Warren - Sep 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    That’s my man. Luis “the ice cream man” Scola. He’s a very talented and smart. He should be in the conversation of being most improved player. If not he should be considered as an All-Star.

  3. JPerz - Sep 8, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Most people don’t know Luis but he is an awesome player, the Rockets just need to let him play his style and he could be an All-Star. I still remember when he dropped 44, and when he went beast mode against the Lakers. He is a skilled big man who can either shoot or score from the post, and he is really hard to guard in the post.FIBA fans know what really is when Argentina and Spain meet, is just great.

  4. Scola? NOT - Sep 8, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    Hey guess what – if I, a 43-year old male, played on the local high-school basketball team, I’d be the MVP. I would score the most, get the most rebounds, etc., but that DOESN’T MAKE ME THE BEST PLAYER. You opinion piece is as shallow as a wading pool. Did you ever consider that Kevin Durant scores like that IN THE NBA? FIBA is about country, not talent. Scola my be the best on his team, but he’s not even the best backup on the USA team.

  5. Rob - Sep 8, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Commentor #4 is an idiot.

  6. Bert - Sep 8, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Commenter #4 does have a point. No one on most of the contender teams is asked to score 30 ppg. All of Team USA is going to get their shots. Make Kevin Durant carry a team in the FIBA World Championships and see what happens. Most likely, he scores 35 ppg and they don’t win gold. Let’s see if Luis Scola can continue to score 30 with Argentina winning it all. There’s still games to be played. Scola probably needs the absent Manu Ginobili to pull that off. In 2012 it won’t matter. USA will win by an average of 40 ppg…

  7. Rog - Sep 9, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    You’re right Rob, he’s a fools fool…major DA idiot.

  8. Nico - Sep 13, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    Durant, the FIBA MVP, led the USA to the Gold Medal! The same Durant who led the NBA in scoring last season has solidified himself as one of the best, if not the best basketball players on the planet. The amazing thing is that he’s only 21 years old. Call me crazy, but I think we’re looking at the new face of the NBA when we look at Durant.

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