On one hand, they got to see their new power forward show that he still has a lot in the tank. There are questions about how the Raptors rebuilt their roster this summer, but if he plays like this Luis Scola can answer a few of them.
On the other hand, those Raptors fans are Canadians excited about their strong young national team — and Scola just torched them.
Score one for the old guard as Scola and Argentina beat Canada 97-84 behind 35 points and 13 rebounds from Scola Tuesday. He did it with his deliberate, physical, crafty, below-the-rim game.
Canada’s athletic young team — led by Andrew Wiggins, who had 13 in the game — looked a little tentative in their first game as potential favorites on a big stage. The top two finishers at FIBA Americas get a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and there is an expectation Canada will land one of those slots.
Argentina came out with an intensity and desire Canada did not match. Argentina has been on the big stages before — they are the 2004 Olympic gold medalists — and it showed.
Canada can right the ship Wednesday against Cuba (a game Canada should win handily). From there they should be able to get the wins to get to the knockout stage, and then they just need to play more like Scola and Argentina to advance.
Andrew Wiggins dunks on Andres Nocioni, bumps him again while hanging on rim (video)
Argentina, which won the gold medal in Greece in 2004 and the bronze in 2008 in China, will again be trying to qualify for the Rio Olympics, but they will have to do it without a couple stars — Manu Ginobili and Carlos Delfino.
From Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Canadians are following closely because they believe they can win the FIBA Tournament and qualify).
Argentina coach says no Ginobili, no Delfino for FIBA Americas. Facundo Campazzo will join team in Mexico though.
Gregg Popovich is smiling somewhere. Ginobili is 38, coming up on likely his last NBA season, but the Spurs will still count on his creative playmaking off the bench. They don’t want him worn down.
Delfino has battled injuries, hasn’t been on an NBA court since 2013, and is currently unsigned. He’s not healthy enough to pitch in much.
Argentina still has Luis Scola, but their “golden generation” that helped change international basketball has started to age out of competition. Which is a little sad, that was a fun team to watch, but father time always wins the race.