Manu Ginobili has left an indelible mark on Argentina. Despite his advanced age, he remains an intricate cog to the Argentinian program. In Argentina’s six-point loss to the United States yesterday, Ginobili finished with 23 points in spite of foul trouble that hampered his trademark reckless play.
Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski described Ginobili as “sensational.” A six point loss is a loss, yes. But against the definitive favorite to win the gold medal, who were favored by 28 points, it isn’t a bad result for a team pinned as old.
Ginobili believes that his team took a step forward and still has room for improvement.
“We still have much room for improvement,” Ginobili said. “There are things to adjust, but we are much better. We’re satisfied, we took a step forward and (remain) positive about the Olympics.”
Argentina was fortunate to whittle down the deficit after they suffered the initial point of attack — a 14-1 run to open the game. At that point the Americans hadn’t missed a shot. The game appeared akin to a 1 seed handily beating a 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Argentina eventually settled down and the game resembled more of a taut, contested battle between two top 10 ranked teams.
“It’s not a matter of intensity but we did not start playing well,” Ginobili said. “With a team as good (as the United States), if you sleep start, you do pay. We had a great last 34 minutes of play.”
The next time they play the United States, they’ll need to play a near perfect 40 minutes. Either that or Ginobili needs to summon, once again, an incredibly timely performance for the ages.