An 86-80 loss to Team USA was as tough a game as any to swallow for star Manu Ginobili and the rest of the Argentinian basketball team.
It was also one that spoke volumes of the talent this team possesses.
Make no mistake about it, based on their performance against the Americans, Argentina will be a contender in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Ginobili, Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino were the three NBA talents that had to make their mark on this contest. It was their firepower offensively, led by Ginobili, that made the difference in this contest.
Ginobili scored a team-high 23 points, while Delfino chipped in 15 and Scola recorded 14 in the contest. The three combined for a whopping 52 of the team's 80 points.
Talk about some impressive play from some proven NBA veterans.
The game had no bearing on the Olympic standings, but it was as telling a game as any for this Argentina team. Spain, who is considered a team of equal talent by many, lost by 22 points in their exhibition contest against the USA in Barcelona.
Argentina also boasts a plethora of Olympic experience and puts together some impressive ball as well. In the two more recent Olympic appearances in 2008 and 2004, Argentina earned medals in both. After winning gold in Athens in 2004 the team followed that with a solid third-place finish in 2008.
Will this team's momentum and success in previous Olympic Games carry on into the games for this Argentine team? Can Ginobili's clutch game put the USA away in a game that goes down to the wire?
This is everything you need to know about this Argentina team including the roster, team schedule and factors fans must take notice of.
Team Argentina 2012 Roster (Courtesy of London2012.com):
|Manu Ginobili||G||San Antonio Spurs||34|
|Luis Scola||F||Houston Rockets||32|
|Carlos Delfino||G||Milwaukee Bucks||29|
|Juan Gutierrez||C||Obras Sanitarias||28|
Caja Laboral Vitoria ||35|
|Andres Nocioni ||F||Caja Laboral Vitoria||32|
Hernan Jasen ||G/F||
Cajasol Sevilla ||34|
|Federico Kammerichs ||F||
Regatas de Corrientes ||32|
Schedule (Courtesy of London2012.com) :
07/29/2012 - Argentina vs. Lithuania at 22:15 local time (London)
07/31/2012 - Argentina vs. France at 22:00 local time
08/02/2012 - Argentina vs. Tunisia at 14:30 local time
08/04/2012 - Argentina vs. Nigeria at 22:15 local time
08/06/2012 - Argentina vs. USA at 22:15 local time
X-Factor: Manu Ginobili
The anchor of this team in the 2008 Beijing Games knows he will have to give the USA and Spain his best performances this tournament.
Considering Argentina will have to play the Americans in the preliminary round, there is no question their odds are not in their favor in that contest. However, if they somehow find a way to pull off the upset, it will be behind the spectacular clutch play of Manu.
His 23 points in the contest were buckets that happened to pick up the momentum of this team when they were down. Time and time again he has dug this team out of a hole with his aggressive offense, much like he continues to do with his San Antonio Spurs.
Player to Watch for: Luis Scola
The one clear knock on LeBron James and his squad is the major lack of depth in the paint.
Luis Scola is a proven PF in the game with a plethora of offensive skill. He can be the one player to attack a weak American frontline.
Outside of Kevin Love, a player not known for his defensive efforts, there is no match for Scola in the interior. His 14 points and six rebounds were integral in Argentina's success throughout the ball game.
Scola's size and skill should bode well against nearly every team in the field including team USA. If Argentina plans on upsetting one of the more talented USA teams in its history, Scola will have to produce.
Group Stage Prediction: Argentina= 2nd place, Group A
Both Argentina and the United States are undeniably set to get out of the first round of play.
The first round of play is followed by a round of eight, as four teams from each of the two six-team groups move on to the knockout stages.
With the exception of those two basketball powerhouses, there is little to no competition in Group A.
France may put up a strong outing behind the play of Spurs PG sensation Tony Parker and Wizards talent Kevin Seraphin, but that won't be enough to top either team in Round 1.
In the team's final match in group play, the second-coming of the dream team will defeat Argentina handily. Don't look for Argentina to risk injury of any sort in this game, considering they will likely have already qualified for the next round prior to the contest.