Aug. 22, 2008; Beijing, CHINA; United States guard Lebron James (6) is fouled by Andres Nocioni (ARG) (13) as Fabrico Oberto (7) helps defend in the first half against Argentina at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Stadium in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
While it’s just an exhibition, it’s almost a guarantee that this game will be fun. On Argentina’s side, Spurs fans know the capability of Manu Ginobili; at any given time, he can alter the tenor of the game with his scintillating brand of basketball.
Team USA will bring a deep roster filled with bonafide superstars. So they’re pretty exciting as well — to say the least.
An interesting development to watch today is whether Argentina’s backcourt, consisting of the steady Manu Ginobili and Pablo Prigioni, will successfully ward off Team USA’s vaunted pressure defense. Conversely, USA’s thin frontcourt will be pressed into defending Luis Scola, while he doesn’t have elite length, remains one of the better big men in the international game. Defending Scola should give them an adequate taste before they battle Spain — their multi-faceted trio posing their biggest problem.
Team USA will continue to ratchet up their intensity, utilizing their swarming perimeter defense to aid in defending Scola. Argentina isn’t an immediate gold medal threat but they remain a threat; and, as such, the United States shouldn’t expect to win easily.
While I expect Team USA to win emphatically due to the talent disparity alone; Argentina’s roster has enough NBA talent to withstand the inevitable onslaught of pressure and athleticism. Regardless of outcome, though, we should examine the bigger picture rather than take too much away from one match. This is likely to be a valuable precursor as they will play again on Aug. 6 in London.
Considering Argentina may not been in this position for awhile, we might as well enjoy it.