Argentina struggled early but defeated Tunisia by a score of 92-69 on Day 6 of the 2012 Olympics. This loss effectively ends Tunisia’s hopes at medaling in London.
Much like in their matchup against Team USA, the Tunisians ran out of gas and could not deliver two successful halves of basketball.
Argentina was missing Pablo Prigioni, their starting point guard, and it showed early, as the Argentinians could not seem to get in sync.
The second half, though, was a different story entirely. Argentina started on an absolute tear, bursting out a 9-0 run to begin the half. Their ball movement increased significantly, and they ramped up their defense to completely stifle Tunisia’s offense.
When the third quarter was said and done, they had a dominant 71-56 lead.
Even with everything working against them, Tunisia didn’t fall apart. Some nifty three-point shooting held them in the game to keep this one respectable. In the end, Manu Ginobili and Argentina’s star power were too much for the upset-minded Tunisians.
Tweets of the Day
Argentina were without their starting PG for this prelim game against Tunisia, as NBADraft.net's Jonathan Wasserman noted:
Pablo Prigioni, Argentina/Knicks PG, is out today due to kidney stones. His absence showing early. Argentina tied with Tunisia at half— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftnetWass) August 2, 2012
Tunisia got off to another hot start and went up by 14. Ball Don't Lie showed their disbelief:
Ginobili is just unstoppable, says Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Man, @manuginobili's delivering an absolute clinic here. One of the great Olympic and World Championship players ever. He has 16. Tied at 33— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 2, 2012
They didn't collapse in the first, and the game was tied at the half:
Tunisia is quite a surprise in Olympic basketball... tied at halftime with powerhouse Argentina! #London2012— Mr. NBA (@THE_REAL_Mr_NBA) August 2, 2012
They didn't win and won't win a medal, but the Tunisians came to play in London, as emphasized by Matt Moore, NBA blogger for CBSSports.com:
Tunisia may wind up with one of the worst point differentials in the tournament, and one of the best heart differentials. /DRAMATIC MUSIC— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) August 2, 2012
Key Tunisian Player Grades
Romdhane is the X-factor for the Tunisians, and he didn’t do enough to help carry his squad to a victory. He led all scorers on Tuesday against Team USA but was blanketed for much of this one. He ended with 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting and six rebounds.
Mejri kept his team in the game but also shot them out of it in the process. His 8-of-19 shooting was a detriment. However, he did record 19 points and was also a force down low, racking up 14 rebounds and seven blocks.
Key Argentinian Player Grades
Ginobili, the San Antonio Spurs' star guard, did enough early to spark his team after a slow start in the first quarter. When all was said and done, he finished with 24 points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Ginobili did everything we’ve come to expect of him: He scored, passed and handled the ball perfectly with the team’s starting PG sitting this one out.
Scola posted a monster double-double, racking up 20 points and 10 rebounds (four of them offensive). He was all over the place, setting screens and getting the ball to open shooters on the perimeter, dishing out five assists in the process.
Delfino did everything he could to help Argentina avoid a disastrous upset after failing to beat France on Tuesday. He shot an impressive 10-of-15 from the field while only connecting on 1-of-5 from the three-point line. His stat line also included four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Game MVP: Manu Ginobili
Ginobili showed why he is one of the best players on the international stage. He stepped his game up amidst the early push by the Tunisians and put his team on his shoulders to bring them back into it.
After that, his teammates responded, and they never looked back.
For the Tunisians, this is the end of the road. Today’s loss is their second and will mean they will likely not advance to the medal rounds.
Next up for Argentina is a must-win game against Nigeria as they try to remain in contention.
Their biggest challenge comes on Sunday, though, against the powerhouse Team USA.
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