• The day kicked off with a huge rivalry game that delivered on its promise of drama and excitement. Spain looked like Spain but they might’ve gotten an assist from a lifeless effort out of the entire Lithuanian team. Croatia overestimated their opponent and fell apart after a strong start, allowing Nigeria to get in the win column after playing well for most of the tournament.

    Group B got even more muddled today, so dive in for the details.

    Today’s Results

    Men’s

    Argentina 111 vs. Brazil 107 (2OT)
    Spain 109 vs. Lithuania 59
    Nigeria 90 vs. Croatia 76

    Women’s

    Australia 74 vs. Belarus 66
    Turkey 79 vs. Brazil 76 (2OT)
    Japan 79 vs. France 71

    Argentina 111 vs. Brazil 107 (2OT)

    Argentina hung on for dear life in what was undoubtedly the game of the tournament so far. Argentina got out to a quick start before being throttled by the Brazilians in the second quarter that began with a 24-8 run. Brazil looked to be in good position to take home a victory before Andres Nocioni hit a game-tying three pointer in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. The two teams played to a stalemate in the first overtime before Argentina ripped off an 8-0 run to start the second session that proved too much to overcome. This game had some ugly moments but was a complete roller coaster- tons of swings, big shots and missed opportunities that were only heightened by a tremendous crowd that was out in full force for a major international rivalry game.

    Argentina received an all-time performance from Andres Nocioni. He carried Argentina when they had nothing going on and hit the clutch triple to send the game to overtime. He finished with 37 points, 11 rebounds and 7 triples on 11-19 from the field. He came up big all night long before fouling out in the extra sessions. Facundo Campazzo (#7) also brought his A game today, notching 33-4-11 with 4 steals and 5 triples of his own. He was the sole contributor in the Argentinia backcourt and joined Nocioni in the big shot parade to erase a 6 point Brazil lead in the final minutes of the fourth. He got some tunnel vision in double overtime but was really the only reliable scoring threat beyond Nocioni and Luis Scola. Scola pitched in 14 and 10 before fouling out and the team really seemed to struggle when he was on the bench in regulation. Patricio Garino (#29) also had 5 big points in the second overtime on a three and a clutch offensive putback after Campazzo missed a runner.

    Manu Ginobili was generally bad today. He made just 4-14 from the field while going 0-8 from deep and 5-10 from the free throw line. He hoisted up a number of bad shots that threatened to end Argentina’s day early and there were a few instances where he totally fell asleep on the defensive end and got lucky when Brazil missed open looks and easy shots. And yet Manu stepped up in the game’s closing seconds, grabbing an offensive rebound off of a missed free throw and sinking two of his own to extend the lead to four with just 2.6 seconds left. It was mostly a game to forget for Ginobili, but you can’t deny his impeccable sense of timing.

    Brazil roared back to lead for almost the entirety of the final three quarters on the back of Nene. After some nondescript games out of the forward, Brazil decided to use him to attack Luis Scola down low and it paid off in a big way. A 24-11 line led the way in a great day for Nene. Brazil’s massive second quarter was led from the bench, as Vitor Benite (#8) shot 5-6 in the quarter to pour in all 13 of his points. Giovannoni (#12) connected for 10 points of his own while former Pelican Alex Garcia (#10) went for 14-8-3. Brazil got tons of contributions from all over the roster in a game that was right there for the taking.

    Leandro Barbosa was downright awful for the first 45 minutes of action. Reduced to a spectator role, Barbosa returned in double overtime after changing into his Brazilian Blur supersuit. He scored Brazil’s first 11 points in the frame and kept Argentina from pulling away after they opened with an 8-0 run of their own. Some earlier contributions might’ve been helpful but there’s no denying that he delivered late. Marcelo Huertas fouling out in overtime was the beginning of the end for Brazil, as Raul Neto couldn’t inspire the same ball movement that worked to exploit Brazil’s size advantage down low. The offense dried up until Barbosa took over. Brazil could’ve really helped out their medal round chances with a win but might have to hope for outside help now.

    I encourage you to find a replay of this game if possible. NBC Olympics has free replays on their website if you’re in the States. This was a classic game that deserves a second look from anyone who considers themselves a basketball fan.

    Top Performers

    Argentina Brazil
    Points Nocioni 37
    Campazzo 33
    Scola 14
    Nene 24
    Huertas / Garcia 14
    Benite 13
    Rebounds Nocioni 11
    Scola 10
    Garino / Campazzo 4
    Nene 11
    Garcia 8
    Giovannoni 6
    Assists Campazzo 11
    Ginobili 4
    Four with 1
    Neto 4
    Huertas/Marquinhos/Garcia 3
    Nene 2

    Stray Thoughts:

    • Brazil has a clear size advantage; Argentina made them pay with threes but it’s an area that they’ll need to shore up with strong team defense
    • Huertas knows how to maximize every screen; such a smart player
    • Huge first half from Brazil’s bench
    • Brazil just 4/19 in Q4; couldn’t capitalize on 5 Argentina turnovers in the quarter
    • Marquinhos had a really rough game; travel in 2OT, missed free throw in OT, some poor shots and sloppy ball control
    • Ginobili and Scola missed key free throws; Ginobili in particular is having a tough time at the stripe so far in Rio
    • Campazzo got some tunnel vision late but was sensational for most of the game
    • 2 big offensive rebounds; one that led to Nocioni’s game tying shot in Q4 and Ginobili off Delfino’s 0/2 free throws at the end of the game
    • Garcia has a weird looking shot; his feet turn perpendicular to the shot, if that makes sense
    • Garcia didn’t box out on that final free throw; huge mistake at the worst time
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