As San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker learned last week, the United States is an offensive monster in the 2012 London Olympics. The Americans defeated Parker and Co. by 27 points last Sunday.
Monday was Parker’s San Antonio teammate Manu Ginobili’s turn to face the Americans, as Argentina was set to play their final pool game. Ginobili and Argentina competed with the Americans for one half, but then they too saw first hand how much firepower the Americans have on their lineup as the U.S. defeated them 126-97 in a second half blowout.
Ginobili finished with 16 points, on 4-of-7 shooting, six assists, five rebounds, and five turnovers in 25 minutes. Argentina also played without starting point guard Pablo Prigioni, who was nursing an injury. Here’s the rundown.
First quarter: Argentina (ARG) 32, United States (USA) 34
Player of the quarter (ARG): Ginobili – Ginobili started off quiet with Kobe Bryant (11 points) defending him, but then once he was able to penetrate the paint, he continued the trend as he led Argentina with 11 points and two assists after the first quarter. Ginobili’s team helped him with hot shooting as Argentina shot 11-of-17 from the field.
Player of the quarter (USA): Kevin Durant, outside shooting – Durant (28 points) led the U.S. with 11 points in the first quarter, his 3-point bucket at the buzzer was huge as it allowed the U.S. to keep their lead after one quarter. Had it not been for the U.S.’s 3-point shooting in the first, they would have been down as they shot 7-of-15 from 3-point range.
Second quarter: ARG 59, USA 60
Player of the quarter (ARG): Leo Gutierrez, Facundo Campazzo, Ginobili – For five minutes in the second quarter, Campazzo , Leo, and the rest of the Argentine bench stayed within striking distance of the Americans as Campazzo continued to penetrate the defense, find his teammates with passes, and even make a 3-pointer of his own. Leo had all of his 11 points at the half; nine of those points came off three 3-pointers from him in the quarter.
Ginobili was put in the quarter for the last five minutes, he made a fading 3-pointer, drew contact to earn trips to the free throw line, and found his teammates as he ended the first half with 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting, made 7-of-7 free throws, grabbed four rebounds, and dished three assists.
Player of the quarter (USA): Chris Paul – As the United States played a lot of one-on-one basketball with little ball movement in the second, Paul (17 points) was one of the bright spots in the quarter as he sunk two 3-pointers and one basket as he scored eight points in the quarter, and 14 for the half to lead U.S.A. Team USA assisted on just 11 of their 20 made field goals in the first half, while taking 24 regular shots and 22 three pointers.
Third quarter: ARG 76, USA 102
Player of the quarter (ARG): Luis Scola – Scola (11 points) scored eight points in the quarter, Argentina as a whole only scored 17 points, credit the American defense.
Player of the quarter (USA): LeBron James, Durant, defense, hot shooting – The Americans went on a tear in the third quarter as James (18 points, 5 assists) got things started with defense and offensively driving to the basket and finding his teammates in the open court. Durant ended the third with 28 points, as he was a monster from the outside. When the third was over, he had made 8-of-10 total three pointers.
The defense of the U.S. was also key in not only holding Ginobili scoreless, but also forcing Argentina into seven turnovers. Paul and Bryant were both key in putting constant pressure on Campazzo and Ginobili.
Manu after three: As mentioned above, Ginobili was held scoreless in the third, while only collecting one assist. Ginobili did not play in the fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter: ARG 97, USA 126
Player of the quarter (USA): Russell Westbrook – The U.S. continued to dominate by 20-plus points in the fourth quarter, but Westbrook may have cemented himself in Olympic dunk history as he did a powerful-cupped one-handed dunk over Juan Gutierrez. Westbrook was called for taunting, but the dunk will be one like Vince Carter’s historic international dunk where he jumped over a player.
With the loss, Argentina ends Group A pool play with a 3-2 record. Ginobili and Argentina will face Tiago Splitter and Brazil on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
The U.S. will face Patty Mills and Australia in the quarterfinals, while Parker, Boris Diaw, and Nando De Colo will face Spain on Wednesday.