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Manu Ginobili’s First Olympic Exhibition Game

Jul 22, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA guard Kyle Lowry (7) goes around Argentina guard Manu Ginobili (5) during a basketball exhibition game at T-Mobile Arena. USA won 111-74. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 22, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA guard Kyle Lowry (7) goes around Argentina guard Manu Ginobili (5) during a basketball exhibition game at T-Mobile Arena. USA won 111-74. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports /
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Friday the US Men’s National team played an exhibition game against Manu Ginobili and Argentina.

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The first match-ups of the tournament featured the USA vs. Argentina. This was everyone’s chance to see Kevin Durant play along with his new teammates, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, and it’s first glance at a pro game since the NBA Finals ended.

The Argentinian team displayed one of their fresh new uniforms, looking to see where they stand against one of the top teams in Group A. One player who stood out immediately was the San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginobili.

Ginobili stepped on the floor sporting a brand new hairstyle. Bald. Whatever memories exist of his infamous bald spot are now gone.The new hairstyle ironically contrasts the stage this particular stage of his career.

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This marks Ginobili’s very and last Olympic tournament, as well as his last year in the NBA.

The game started sloppy with bobbled passes, turnovers and a flurry of missed 3-pointers.  However, it was never close. The US gained a size-able lead early in the game, and led by 15 points by the end of the first quarter. The US big men were too much inside grabbing most of the offense and defensive rebounds, and ended the half with a 56-33 lead.

Ginobili appeared to be the team’s best player, even at age 38. He grabbed steals in the passing lanes, whipped strong passes, connected on his shots (although there were not many), and even hit a three-point buzzer beater right at the half.

Ginobli! 38 years old but he’s still got it!https://t.co/GXserG91k9

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 23, 2016

He didn’t get fouled on the play and he didn’t get injured if there is any concern. There is one thing you can count on though, Ginobili will always show glimpses of what made him a great player.

The rest of the game was never close, with Durant scoring 11 straight in the fourth quarter and handily putting the Argentine team away 111-74. Ginobili finished the game with 11 points on 4-8 shooting.

Ginobili does have one admirer on the US team, and that is the Warriors Klay Thompson. Thompson looks to glean from his career, because he respects the sacrifices made by Ginobili.

Thompson told reporters prior to playing in Friday night’s games, that he wants wants to pattern himself after what Ginobili did.

I look at a guy like Manu Ginobili who came off the bench almost his entire career. Never averaged more than 20 points a game, but he’s a four-time champion, you know? He could have easily been on another team and averaged 25 a game, but he sacrificed to win, and that’s what I expect to do next year.

There is a chance that coach Gregg Popovich knew every move that Ginobili would make, but it was an exhibition game, and the players all hugged afterwards, ready for the next competition. The takeaway from this game for Ginobili is that he won’t miss a beat next season, with or without the now retired Tim Duncan.

Next: Where Does Leonard Rank Amongst Small Forwards

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