Two members of the “Big 3” for the San Antonio Spurs will finally play each other in basketball for the first time outside of the practice facility in San Antonio, as Manu Ginobili and Argentina prepare to take on Tony Parker and France.
Of all six Spurs players involved in Olympic play, Ginobili single handily had the best game of all six as his team not only blasted Lithuania, but Ginobili put up a magnificent stat line of 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Parker and his French teammates were clobbered by the United States on Sunday, as they look forward to playing a team not COMPLETELEY made up of NBA players in Argentina on Tuesday.
Who will win this first and possibly last meeting between Parker and Ginobili? Let’s take a look out how both teams matchup and I’ll give my prediction at the end.
Argentina (ARG): Pablo Prigioni – France (FRA): Tony Parker
Advantage: FRA – Even though Parker still isn’t in full game shape since he missed a month of conditioning, when he almost lost his eye in the infamous bar brawl (P.S. Drake, Rihanna was seen with Chris Brown on a Yacht recently, was the bottle fight really worth it?), he still showed flashes of the Parker Spurs fans know as he was able to penetrate a few times against Team USA and Parker also got to the free throw line occasionally. Parker will have to be aware of Prigioni when Argentina is on offense, as Ginobili likes to kick out to his shooters, and Prigioni is one shooter who can hit from NBA-range already comfortably, as he displayed against Lithuania on Sunday.
ARG: Manu Ginobili – FRA: Mickael Gelabale
Advantage: ARG – This has been a rough first two games for Gelabale. First he had to defend Kobe Bryant on Sunday, and now he gets to defend Ginobili.
ARG: Carlos Delfino – FRA: Nicolas Batum
Advantage: Even – I know Delfino had a great game against Lithuania (20 points), and Batum had a poor game against the U.S, but Batum was matched up with guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony all game. I’m sure Batum will be more productive against Argentina as he’ll be able to contribute more on both ends of the floor.
ARG: Andres “El Chapu” Nocioni – FRA: Boris Diaw
Advantage: Even – Both guys do a lot of the little things for their teams and have huge impacts even if they aren’t the leader in any statistical category. What will be interesting to see is how much production Diaw has in posting Nocioni in the paint.
ARG: Luis Scola – FRA: Ronny Turiaf
Advantage: ARG – Turiaf actually scored seven points on the U.S. whom do not have a real center outside of Tyson Chandler, but Scola is a whole different monster. Scola has the fundamental post game, can shoot from 17-feet out, and get to the free throw line with physicality. Not to mention, Scola’s coming off a 32-point game.
ARG: Facundo Campazzo, Fabien Causeur, Yannick Bokolo, Hernan Jasen, Marcos Mata, Leo Gutierrez, Federico Kammerichs, Juan Gutierrez, Martin Leiva
FRA: Nando De Colo, Yakhouba Diawara, Florent Pietrus, Ali Traore, Kevin Seraphin, Fabien Causeur, Yannick Bokolo
Advantage: FRA – As was the case with France against the Americans, you couldn’t point to one individual player who had a great game, but De Colo, Seraphin, and especially Traore (12 points) all have the ability to help out productively off the bench.
Perimeter and Frontcourt Matchups
Perimeter Advantage: ARG – For France, you’ve got Parker, Gelebale, and Batum against Prigioni, Ginobili, and Delfino. A Parker who isn’t 100% physically conditioned isn’t the same as a “Spurs” Parker, but having Batum on the wing does help France. Along with Prigioni and Delfino, Ginobili has an impact on both sides of the ball. Whether Manu’s gambling for a steal or block on defense, drawing fouls on offense, slicing through teams, finding the open man, or hitting the outside 3-pointers, Ginobili himself can cancel any production Parker and Batum supply, France must be aware of limiting his playmaking, which isn’t likely unless they put Batum on him.
Frontcourt Advantage: ARG – France is going to need a big game from Diaw offensively, specifically scoring the basketball, or else Scola and Nocioni will control and dominate the frontcourt as they did against Lithuania. Seraphin and Traore will also help, but Argentina and Scola are too disciplined in the halfcourt to allow France’s athletic big men like Turiaf and Seraphin to stay productive with a quicker tempo.
Prediction: Argentina defeats France by nine points or more.
[Patty Mills and Australia face Spain to kick off Tuesday's slate of Spurs players participating in the Olympics, here's a Scouting Report of the game.]