USA Basketball Game 7: USA 101 – Argentina 81

The United States now only has to defeat Spain on Sunday to win the Gold medal, and after defeating a mostly Manu Ginobili-less Argentina, the United States’ worst result will be a Silver Medal. But you know darn well that they did not come here to win Silver, so Sunday’s re-match against Spain (who Team USA handled easily in pool play, but will the familiarity help Spain this time around?) is huge.

The United States won for mostly three reasons:

1. They dominated the first quarter, ending the quarter up 30-11. As a lot of folks have noted, the key to beating the United States is to make them play from behind – Argentina could not do that.

2. Argentina lost their best player, the utterly amazing (but sadly fragile) Manu Ginobili. Let us just hope he is ready to play when the Spurs’ season starts – an NBA season with a hurt Ginobili, while normal enough by now, is not nearly as fun as when he is healthy.


Yes, they were missing Ginobili, but still, the US defended Argentina brilliantly, especially on the three-point shooting, causing Argentina to miss seventeen of the twenty-three threes attemped. Carlos Delfino was the main culprit, shooting 3 for 10.

Offensively, Team USA, outside the first quarter and a nice stretch involving Chris Paul and Dwight Howard (The NBA has put all their players up for re-drafting, you have the second pick, Lebron has obviously gone #1 – who do you take, Paul or Howard?), played a poor offensive game, and they especially had problems with Argentina’s zone. You have to give props to Argentina – they did not show the zone all tournament long, just so they could break it out now to screw with the US, and it worked!

Kobe Bryant was the main problem, shooting 5 for 14 overall and 2 for 9 from three! The United States made 10 out of 31 threes:

A. That’s bad

B. That’s especially bad because most of the threes were just uggggggly (I’m looking at you, Kobe).

Also, Kobe Bryant, have you never played international ball before? You will get slapped, shoved, etc. Every team has, like, 10 Raja Bells, and they’re not going to call the fouls, so please, either pull a Duncan and say, “Screw this BS” or play and quit whining. Lebron James is, like, 12 years old – he should not have to tell a grown man like yourself to quit whining and get your head in the game!

Kobe Bryant is a great player, by the way. I just want to get that in there, because I feel I’ve been a bit harsh on the guy in these game recaps, but man, has he been annoying me. And when he’s playing alongside Lebron, who just looks so much better, it grates on me.

Spain meanwhile won a hard-fought game over Lithuania on the back of Pau Gasol, 91-86. Spain will be an interesting re-match, and good to see, as if the US defeats them, they’ll have beaten the last Olympic champ as well as the last World Championships champ. Nice.

Oh, in other news, the US Government has officially granted the NBA permission to pursue the Iranian big man, Hamed Ehadadi. As I wrote awhile back, the anti-Iranian statutes in US law are so broad and so scary that the NBA was rightfully frightened of any of their teams approaching them before the US granted them a license to do so, and luckily, the US did so the other day. That was nice. I wonder if anyone will actually sign the guy (he is over seven feet tall, so perhaps).

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7 thoughts to “USA Basketball Game 7: USA 101 – Argentina 81”

  1. Great post, great graphic….

    I would be equally happy with Paul, Lebron, or Howard. They are three best players in the NBA right now, and probably for some time to come.

    NBC just ran a profile of Lebron and Carmelo. Melo has been really mediocre in this Olympics, but the marketing machine rolls on I guess. Meanwhile I have to wonder why the hell he and his 41.5% fg% has played more minutes than Chris Bosh.

    And amidst all this talk about how much China idolizes Kobe, can we talk about how Dwyane Wade has played much much better than he has?

    Honestly, I think what’s going on with Kobe is that he wants to be here at the Olympics in China, for a lot of reasons, but he doesn’t want to get hurt, which is why he has been the “perimeter stopper” but has only 9 free throws and 19 rebounds in 161 minutes. It’s a pretty canny strategy, not much risk, and he will still get most of the credit not allocated to Lebron, simply because he is Kobe.

  2. Why did anyone even bother to attempt to sign Hamed? I mean really he’s just another big stiff with no low post presence and weak on the block. His team lost all their games and horribly I might add. He’s the best player on a bad team and even then his stats aren’t even mediocre. The fact the NBA wasted their time to ask for permission is annoying.

  3. yeah, Owen, Carmelo seems to be by far the worst US player getting any minutes, not sure what’s up there.

    “NBA in its infinite wisdom has banished hoops to the TV nether regions. Sigh.”

    assuming you mean NBC, not sure what you’re expecting. I personally find international ball deadly dull, I’d rather watch summer league. anyway, the gold medal game is on live tonight at 2:30 AM EST on NBC, and we’re doing the bronze game just before that on USA (midnight EST). but with Ginobili and Nocioni both hurt, I’m not expecting anything even close to entertainment.

    if Calderon is out again, our man Ricky Rubio should start for Spain, that’ll be interesting to keep an eye on.

  4. Yeah, ha, Owen, I was at a bar last night, and the Olympics were on without the volume, and I saw the basketball spotlight, and I was soooo confused.

    “That’s Carmelo, right? Why are they showing Carmelo? What is going on? Why am I seeing Carmelo so much? Did he do/say something controversial or something?!”

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