San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili and Argentina returned to action Saturday night as they defeated Venezuela 106 to 53 to win the Super 4 tournament in Cordoba, Argentina.
After scoring 25 points to lead Argentina last night, Ginobili once again led in scoring with 22 points. He was unstoppable again as he shot 6-of-7 from the field, 4-of-4 from three point range, 6-of-6 from the free throw line, and had four assists in 20 minutes of action.
Argentina came out on fire as they had a 35 to 8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Former Spur Fabricio Oberto finally made his debut in regulation basketball in over a year after overcoming heart complications. Oberto logged three minutes of action. Ginobili had 12 points in the first quarter.
Ginobili rested the entire second quarter while Oberto took one shot, but missed it. Philadelphia’s Andres Nocioni led Argentina at halftime with 13 points. Argentina was leading 55 to 24 at halftime as they held Venezuela to just 10 made shots in the first half. Argentina was 7 of 10 from three-point land in the first half.
Oberto scored his first bucket in over a year with a two-point basket early in the third quarter. Ginobili did what he does to scare Spurs fans and Spurs management, he went through the lane, leaped in the air and tried to dunk on a Venezuelan player, but he was fouled in mid air. Nothing happened to Ginobili but it makes you fearful when he plays so recklessly like that. Then again, that’s what makes Manu, Manu. He would make both free throws.
Ginobili scored again by busting a three pointer from the right sideline. He was now up to 17 points. Something funny happened in the third quarter, he was lightly fouled coming off of a screen and was fouled. The contact made him fly about five feet from his defender to the floor. Can you say “flopping?”
Ginobili kept up the third quarter onslaught by using a pump fake to make his Venezuelan defender fly by him, and then stepped back and popped another three pointer. He went to the bench with 20 points after he poured in eight points to start the third quarter. By the time the third quarter ended, Argentina led 80 to 45. Ginobili and Nocioni both had 20 points a piece to lead Argentina.
With three minutes remaining in the game and Argentina leading by 43 points, Ginobili was reinserted into the game. This prompted me to tweet, “I bet Gregg Popovich is pulling his hair out right now as Ginobili’s playing in a game where his team is up by 46 points.”
Ginobili would sink two more free throws for his 22nd point of the night. He was also wearing the new Team Argentina sneakers that our own Trevor Zickgraf wrote about a few weeks ago.
Oberto scored two points in 13 minutes of action. Argentina will now travel to Rosario, Argentina on Monday for more exhibition play to begin on Tuesday.