Ten Things I Liked About Argentina/Greece

I was a little surprised by how much both teams complained to the referees. It was like a NBA game at points. At the same that was a very minor part of an incredibly entertaining game. Just awesome to watch. And the following stood out to me:

Honorable Mention:

- Both coaches had emotional outbursts that were in no way forced. Rather they fit with the intensity of the game.

- Carlos Delfino's dragon tattoo.

10. The cheering sections. Despite a solid showing from the Argentinian fans, the Greeks appeared to have more of a presence, in terms of numbers and noise.

8. Sofoklis Schortsanitis only played 4 minutes. In that time he made one bucket, missed 2 free throws, knocked Luis Scola down with a pick, and threw a ton of elbows and forearm shivers.

7. Due to the physical play of Schortsanitis the Argentinians had to worry about Fabricio Oberto, Andres Nocioni, and Luis Scola getting into either foul trouble or a fight. Enter Roman Gonzalez. Don't get me wrong, there's a reason he only played 1:46. He's a big dude that no one would describe as mobile or offensively gifted. Still there's always a place on this blog for a player with a fu manchu that's out there to throw his body around.

Arg_roman_gonzalez_o_medium

via www.fiba.com

6. Some people may criticize the Greeks for taking a 3 in the waning seconds, even though they only trailed by 2. I'm not one of those people. I also enjoyed Scola attacking that rebound and the Argentinians' jumping, chanting, circle dance celebration.

5. Following Manu Ginobili's ridiculous driving lay up (more on this later) that put Argentina up 5 (80-75) with 46 seconds to go, the Greeks had an awful offensive possession. After 2 near turnovers it degenerated into Panagiotis Vasilopoulos and Dimitrious Diamantidis playing hot potato behind the 3-point arc. I counted 4 pump fakes and 3 passes before Vasilopoulos banked a 3-pointer. It gave Greece a chance.

4. Carlos Delfino. He scored 23 points on efficient shooting (9 of 14 from the field, 5 of 8) from deep. And a few of those shots were definitely, "What the hell I'm feeling it" type shots. My favorite was a rainbow 3 from the corner during a stretch when both teams were firing away from outside.

3. Antonios Fotsis. Yes he had 17 points, 10 rebounds, and a solid day from deep (3-5). More importantly he hit a few shots when it looked like Argentina would run away with it. He hit a 3 that cut Argentina's lead to 4 with 7:30 remaining in the game. Later he tied it at 66. I definitely underestimated him heading into the Olympics.

2. The closing minutes of the third quarter degenerated into a series of intense, physical possessions. It made me think, "These teams really care and they may despise each other." That made it fun.

1. Manu freaking Ginobili. Yes Delfino was excellent. But it's always good to step back and reflect on how nasty Ginobili is. My 3 favorite plays from him:

- With about 50 seconds left in the game Ginobili drove right into the lane and then flipped a left handed floater up and in for a 5-point lead.

- His 3 straight 3-pointers in the first quarter. At least 2 of them were step back 3s.

- After just failing to break up an ally oop on the previous defensive possession Ginobili had a huge block on a fast break lay up attempt by Fotsis. The basket would have given the Greeks a 1-point lead. Instead Ginobili blocked it off the backboard to a teammate before crashing into the stands.

Bonus points because Ginobili said the following to Craig Sager, "I'm telling you we, we play till we die." Awesome.

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