May 22, 2013
Argentina beat Brazil, achieve semis
Argentina held off a late rally to beat South American rivals Brazil 82-77 and advanced to the semifinals of an Olympic Games for the third straight time.
In a re-match of the FIBA Americas Championship final won by Argentina last year, they looked comfortable when Emanuel Ginóbili’s three-pointer gave them an 70-59 lead with seven minutes left to play.
But Brazil had other ideas. The outstanding Marcelinho Huertas added two points from the free-throw line to start a 9-0 charge that got it to 70-68 on Alex García’s lay-up.
Pablo Prigioni padded the lead for Argentina and Nenê Hilario came up empty with a pull-up jumper before Andrés Nocioni gave Argentina a 74-68 edge.
Prigioni missed a three and Carlos Delfino a short jumper for Argentina.
Leandro Barbosa took advantage to slice the lead back to 74-71 with less than two minutes to go.
Prigioni missed another three, but Marcelinho came up empty when given the chance to tie with another three.
From there, Argentina closed it out from the free-throw line with Ginóbili, Luis Scola, Delfino and Prigioni all perfect from the line to make it 82-71.
Leandro had back-to-back three-pointers late on to slice the margin, but time ran out on another rally.
Scola led Argentina with 17 points while Ginóbili and Delfino had 16 each, Ginóbili also grabbing eight rebounds. Nocioni scored 12 and Leonardo Gutiérrez 11 in a balanced offensive showing. Brazil relied heavily on Marcelinho and Barbosa, who had 22 points each.
Also, Kobe Bryant made six straight 3-pointers in the second half, LeBron James finished with a triple-double, and the US men’s Olympic basketball team advanced to the semifinals with a 119-86 victory over Australia.
Bryant scored 20 points, flashing three fingers in the air after his third consecutive 3-pointer in the fourth quarter had pushed the game well out of reach and proved that yes, he would deliver the kind of game that’s expected of him in London.
James finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for the US, who advanced to their third straight Olympic semifinal meeting with Argentina. Carmelo Anthony added 17 points and Kevin Durant had 14.
The US beat the Argentines 126-97 on Monday in the final game of pool play, yet another night they didn’t need much from Bryant, who came in averaging just 9.4 points as both he and his teammates kept assuring people there was nothing wrong with the five-time NBA champion.
"We hung in there in the end and got an awesome win," said Argentina's guard Manu Ginobili. "It's very, very hard to make an Olympics semi-final and against Brazil for us it's maybe even more special."
"It was an unexpected game," said Ginobili.
"I didn't expect us to score 46 points in the first half. It was an offensive-minded game. In the second half it got a lot tighter."
Scola said he was not surprised that Brazil battled their way back. "They came really close. We knew they were going to come back. It pretty much always happens. I dream about the podium, it's one game away."