Argentina had a promising first half, but basketball is a game of two halves. The United States flexed their muscle in the second half of their final Group A match at the expense of Manu Ginobili and his Argentinean teammates.
Ginobili and Co. responded to just about everything the US threw at them in the first quarter. While the United States has had some first quarter struggles, Argentina kept fighting for another ten minutes.
However, the United States just had too many weapons. After two quarters of action, the US scored 42 in the third, and ended pool play undefeated with a 126-97 win over an Argentina team that also gave them trouble in their exhibition game.
To Argentina’s credit, they had six players in double figures, and put up 97 on the United States. However, it wasn’t enough to offset big days from Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. The Thunder and Clipper stars combined for 13-of-16 shooting from the perimeter while contributing 45 of 126 points.
Team USA started pulling away midway through the third, and once again, the shorter three-point line played in the Americans favor. Argentina tried attacking the basket, and were effective for awhile. However, the US easily attacked on the other end, and an older Argentinean team could not contain the youth of the United States.
Ginobili finished with a team-high 16 points, but didn’t really contribute anywhere else. The United States were just that much better. Argentina was out-rebounded 28 to 46. Also, Team USA stole the ball 11 times, which contributed to Argentina’s 16 turnovers overall.
Ginobili will face Tiago Splitter and Brazil in the first round of the final eight-team tourney. Argentina and Brazil tip off at 2:00 pm CST and the winner will face the victor of the United States and Australia. Even if Argentina falls in the second round, a win over Brazil would secure them a spot in a medal game, whether that be gold or bronze.