Tag: 2012 London Olympics

Olympics Day 12 - Basketball

Ginobili says Argentina has “5-10 percent chance” of beating USA


It’s going to take an almost perfect game from Argentina — and a little help from Team USA — for the Argentines to pull the upset Friday and advance to the gold medal game.

And they know it.

Look at what Argentina’s Manu Ginobili said, via Reuters.

“The odds are against us. We have a 10 percent or even a five percent chance of winning but we are going to fight for this,” San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said after driving his team past Brazil and into the semi-finals.


Argentina did push the United States in a tune up game for the Olympics (86-80) and they play a grinding style. They have some skill with Ginobili, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino and others. With this being the third meeting between the teams in three weeks, Argentina knows what it has to do.

“We are going to try and turn the ball over less. Make a few shots in the second half and don’t let them run. Then if they get inspired and LeBron (James) or Kobe Bryant or someone get hot and hit 20 threes like they did in the last game, then there’s nothing you can do.”

Argentina needs to play its best game. It needs Team USA to help out by being cold from beyond the arc. And the chances of that are pretty slim.

Probably between five and 10 percent.

Argentina may be tougher test for USA than gold medal game

US guard Kobe Bryant (R) stands by Argen

Argentina is not more talented on paper than the Spanish men’s national team in these Olympics. We can have a debate about Argentina vs. Russia but it’s close.

But the Argentineans could pose a bigger threat to the United States’ gold medal hopes in the semi-finals on Friday than either Spain or Russia in a potential Gold Medal matchup Sunday.

Why? Style and familiarity.

Familiarity as in this will be the third time the two teams will meet inside of three weeks (once in a tune-up game, once in group play in London). It’s hard to beat a good team three times that close together — they know your actions, your preferences and your weaknesses. They have an understanding of what they have to do — and this is a veteran Argentinian side with Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino. They play a high-IQ, savvy game. They run multiple picks on each offensive play — they run a pick-and-roll at the top of the key where the pick setter doesn’t roll or pop but runs to set another pick for a wing player, trying to force switches into mismatches or just confusion. They have seen what works. The familiarity helps them.

Style wise, Argentina knows what to do to try and take the United States out of its up-tempo, free-flowing game. This is going to be a grinding, physical — let’s call it chippy — contest. Argentina likes to get under your skin. The USA can’t let them.

The USA has won the first two meetings because they made big runs for a quarter the Argentines could not match. The Americans are more athletic and deeper, they can do this at any time. In the first game the USA push came at the start, they owned the first quarter, but then the rest of the game Argentina chipped away at the lead, they ground the game down, they took away the transition points and easy baskets for the USA. It ended up being a six-point USA win.

On offense Argentina runs a flex-like system (think Jerry Sloan Utah Jazz) that can expose and lead to easy buckets against a USA side together for less than six weeks and still not covering each other on defense all that well. They run multiple picks with lots of action off the ball, all looking to create confusion or a mismatch. And they have veterans like Ginobili who do not make many mistakes under pressure defenses.

Think of it this way — Argentina plays the kind game that Australia and Lithuania do, but they have more talent and play it better than either of those sides.

The Americans are and should still be the favorites — it will take a perfect game from the Argentines to beat the USA… and they would still need some help. The USA had Kevin Durant raining threes on Argentina before, if he and Team USA go cold from beyond the arc in this one it could be trouble. If the shots are falling from deep the USA is virtually unbeatable.

In the two previous meetings Argentina played most of the game well but the USA’s athleticism (and in second game depth) got them big runs of points the Argentines could not recover from. That probably happens here. Probably.

But this is the last Olympics for Argentina’s golden generation, and they will not go quietly into that good night.

This could be a real test for the USA. Maybe their biggest test.

Report: There will be no age limit for 2016 Rio Olympics

Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Tyson Chandler

FIBA is a beurocratic institution of the old-school order. The Olympics even more so.

So it shouldn’t be a shock that the idea of change — turning the Olympic men’s basketball tournament into an under-23 event — is not something that is going to happen quickly.

Meaning not by the games in Brazil in 2016, according to a report by Ian Thompson at Sports Illustrated.

The NBA’s interest in pursuing an age ceiling for Olympic basketball is “unlikely” to be instituted in time for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, according to the source, who has direct knowledge of the talks involving the International Olympic Committee and FIBA, the international ruling body for basketball….

But the source stressed that quick action on an age limitation is highly unrealistic for FIBA. Passage of the new rule will require the ratification of 213 national basketball federations around the world — the sporting equivalent of the United Nations. The involvement of the IOC will further complicate the talks.

Players have almost universally opposed the idea of changing the Olympics, an idea pushed by David Stern on behalf of the NBA owners. Players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and even guys who missed out this year (Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard) want to have the control and the option.

This is a money grab by the owners — they don’t like “their” star players taking part in a big tournament that generates a lot of money and they don’t get a piece of it. The NBA wants to partner with FIBA to boost the World Cup (or start their own event).

The NBA stars have the ultimate power here — if they promise to boycott a World Cup event this idea will die fast. It may anyway, it’s going to take a lot of persuading (meaning money) to get the other countries on board.

Meaning, it’s not happening in the next couple years before qualification for Rio begins.