This is the one that we have all been waiting for, the rematch, Argentina v. Team USA. We remember what happened in Indianapolis. What will happen here today in Athens could change history as we get it started live on NBC, unfortunately not commercial free, but at least we still get Lamps! I’m excited today, looking for Team USA to annihilate the Argentineans. Oh wait, this team doesn’t annihilate anyone. The Argentineans are loaded, Manu Ginobili, John Chaney’s favorite one guard Pepe Sanchez, Carlos Delfino who will soon be joining the World Champion Pistons, and a cast of other characters. We are about to see how good LB really is. Secretly, I’m hoping the Spain coach comes out and attempts to sabotage the game somehow, I don’t know exactly what I want but we need a Tonya Harding-esque controversy.
1st quarter… Argentina comes out in the Man to Man, if there is one team in this tournament that can play us straight man, Argentina is the team. However, this plays right into the hands of one Timothy Duncan. TD opened the game up with a nice post move. Manu scored the first 5 for Argentina, this made it 5-4 Argentina. Then, Duncan hit to free throws, AI with a short jumper, TD assist. 8-5. Odom now out the foul line, 1-2, 4 point lead. Oberto, who looks like your stereotypical Argentinean citizen, cuts it ot a 2 point game. TD with a lay-up. Manu comes back with the three point play…it’s the battle of the Alamo, Spur v. Spur. Today’s NBA player ready to thrash The Nightmare single-handedly is Emmanuel ‘Manu’ David Ginobili, he is going to go Dirk/Pau/Carlos Arroyo on us. Pepe Sanchez knocks one down from the promise land to tie it. The Argentines only shoot 29% from the promise land, but it looks like a safe bet that they will improve upon that this afternoon. TD owns Argentina, US by a deuce. Manu is looking to get another three point play after putting in another lay-up, and the free throw is good. Argentina has this guy Nocioni who just committed the most heinous of acts, a Vlade Divac flop. Apparently this guy is going to play for the Bulls next year. I personally think he would be a welcome addition to the Los Angeles Lakers for three reasons. First, the guy is a Devean George clone, he still has not committed a foul in his life. Second, he can compare flopping styles with Divac. Third, they need at least one more player to replace all the flops with resulting charges drawn by D. Fish. Ginobili with a great lay-in off a horrible oop from Pepe Sanchez and Argentina is up 4. Sloppy play in the last 40 seconds and the score 24-20, Argentina…it’s safe to say that the United States has a game today.
2nd Quarter… Nocioni opens with a field goal. The United States owns them on the offensive boards and after about 8 volleyball attempts at the field goal, they finally make it. I forgot to mention this but Argentina switched into an impervious 2-3 zone, we have been struggling since. Manu knocks down a three, he has 13 and the lead is now 7. Dougie just informed us that one of the officials is from Spain and the other official was a member of the crew in both losses. AI with an extended continuation, and it counts. The battle of the Alamo is going to take a brief recess now, whereas on two of the last three possessions fouls were called on Duncan (offensive) and Manu (reach in). The Matrix catches an oop from Wade and cuts it to two. With Duncan now out of the game, Argentina has gone back to the man to man, I personally think this is a questionable decision at best, but we shall see. This game is ugly. It’s like watching a Heat/Knicks game circa 1998. Dougie and his partner in the booth give me enough ammunition that I could essentially write this email completely about these idiots (which is disappointing, I expect more from Doug), but then you would have no clue what actually happened in the game. Argentina on a big run, and makes it a 9 point game and they are doing this with Manu, Pepe, and the other starters on the bench. Seriously, this is the most boring game thus far and we are losing by 7. I usually take pride in ripping The Nightmare, but today, not even I can get excited. Bron Bron with a clutch 3 to cut the Argentina lead to 5. After Boozer misses a lay-up, Argentina nearly drains a half court, but it goes off the front rim to end possibly the most boring half of basketball I have seen since January. Argentina leads going to the locker room 43-38.
Halftime… Lamps is talking about the inexorable gymnastics controversy. Seriously, I’m sick of it. Get over it, nobody watching this game cares about Paul Hamm. In our daily halftime message from Athens, from none other than Steven “It’s just the way I talk” A. Smith, I’m hearing something astonishingly similar to the previous games, “Argentina may have a 5 point lead, HOWEVER, we have AI and will win the game.” Wow that’s original Steven A. I’m sure three time best selling author Skip Bayless is right there with you.
3rd quarter… Manu opens with one from the promise land. RJ with a lay-in. Scola answers. Ginobili with a lay-in plus one. Argentina up 11. Pepe with a great feed and kicks up the lead to 13. The second half has opened with a flurry. Ginobili knocks down another from the promise land and the lead is 16. Starbury finally does something and makes a lay-up to take it to 14. Goaltending, back to 16. I think it’s time to ask ourselves, is it PC to root against The Nightmare? This team is utterly hopeless and an atrocity. I think it is disrespectful to me as a fan to put a team of this caliber on the court in the Olym pics. This is the Olympics Stu, I still refuse to blame the Commish for your errors and the pedantic efforts of this team. Dougie just said, “They can cut this lead to nine with a three.” That is hilarious a three, since we have made a grand total of zero thus far today. TD went out with 4 fouls while I was questioning the political correctness of rooting against this team. Also, we managed to cut the lead to 10, but Pepe pulled down an offensive board over Lamar Odom. Nice athleticism Lamar. AI with a three to cut it to seven! If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times…AI is the one player who truly cares. AI has the most unfair reputation in The Association. Steven A., I’m with you on this one, but we will save my ode to AI for another time and place. Marion with a three to get it to six, who knew losing TD would key this run. With 2 minutes left in the quarter, we are down 9. I know Dougie is about to talk about winning the end of the quarter, but as I say this, Argentina makes another 3 and we are down 12. On cue, Dougie is now speaking about how you end quarters meaning so much…I can read him like a book at this point. The word “chippy” should be broken out soon. After an Odom free throw, Wade makes a steal and dunk to get it back to nine. However, as soon as I write this Manu gets fouled on one from the promise land and makes it, hits the free throw, and the lead is now 13. Boozer travels and I feel this one slipping away. Michael Jordan’s first professional coach tells us that Manu has 28 points on 11 shots. 70-57 after three…gold medal hopes vanishing as we speak. And the best part, they have been playing a lot of man, mixing in the zone, what great athletes we have.
4th quarter… Duncan opens with a shot to cut it to 11…Let’s Go! Starbury cuts it to 9 with a lay-up in transition. The announcers are again complaining about the officiating…please. Argentina with another three followed by a Starbury turnover. 12 point lead with 6:50 to go and Manu on the line to bump it to 14. Dougie with another profound statement, the United States has to play perfect basketball from here on to win this game. Well, Dougie, they have made their bed, now they get to lay in it. Manu hit one of two to get it to a bakers dozen. AI back in, this is our chance to make a run, Boozer tip in gets it 11. AI with a steal and Boozer is going to the charity stripe, this is really the last place we want to go at this point with our impeccable free throw shooting, yet as I type this, Boozer makes both; down to a nine point game. TD just fouled out on a moving screen, I think Argentina can…Put it on the board…YES!!! 4:41 to go we are down 11. Starbury with an and one off the turnover. Will he make the free throw to cut it to 8…of course not; nine point game. Oberto at the line, he is a 39% shooter and he is no hurt so they replace him at the line because he is hurt (sure). Odom with a lay-up cuts it to 8 with under four to go. Argentina with another from the promise land, eleven point game. Argentina is 11-21 from the promise land, this is the key statistic in the game. If they don’t pull off the miraculous comeback, my thoughts will be indelible so brace yourself $. Starbury with a lay-up and potential (key word) three point play…and its good; nine down, under three to go. RJ is now going to the line after an Argentina turnover with a chance to cut it to seven. RJ missed the first and made the second, down to 8. Argentina in transition 10 point game with under 2 to go. Starbury takes it back to 8. Two free throws, a ten point lead. The Nightmare cut it to six, Scola with a facial on RJ and that’s it, 89-81. All I can say is lets go Sarunas Jasikevicius, Jerry Garcia is smiling on down on your team from somewhere. I have nothing left to say.