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ARG/BRA – Argentina wins the South American giants clash
ISTANBUL (2010 FIBA World Championship) – It was time for the South American giants, Argentina and Brazil, to meet in Turkey, and it was probably the most exciting game of the tournament so far as the Argentinians won 93-89, and advanced to the Quarter Finals where they will face Lithuania on Thursday.
Both teams have met many times at regional and continental competitions, but at FIBA World Championships they have played only five times with Argentina winning four. Now they showed the world the quality of games that they always play.
The game was balanced and fiery since the start, where both teams displayed an impressive shooting performance in the first quarter. Argentina rested their offense on the secure hands of Luis Scola while Carlos Delfino was on fire from three point range (3-3). Brazil was led by their backcourt of Marcelo Huertas and Leandrinho Barbosa who couldn’t find their post up players and had to shoot from the perimeter.
The first quarter ended tied at 25, where Barbosa and Huertas combined for 20 of their points while Scola and Delfino combined for 18. Argentina shot 69% (9-13) from the field and 12 of their points were in the paint.
Argentina controlled most of the second quarter led by their balanced attack while Brazil struggled against the Argentinean pressure. At the end Marcelo Huertas scored 6 of their 8 points in an 8-0 run, their longest at that point, to give Brazil a 48-46 halftime lead.
Brazil got to a quick start in the third quarter, taking a 55-48 lead thanks to their offense in the paint and kept the lead until baskets by Scola and Delfino left it tied at 66.
In the final quarter Leandro Barbosa came in hot with two straight three pointers, but an unlikely figure came back to tie it as Hernan Jasen responded to tie it at 72. The rest of the game was close where both teams didn’t want to give anything. Argentina was led by Luis Scola, who scored 6 points in a row and after a desperation three by Marcelo Huertas with 1.9 seconds (91-89), he sealed the game with two free throws with 1.2 seconds.
Scola finished with 37 points, 22 of them in the second half while Carlos Delfino had 20 and Hernan Jasen 15.
Brazil had Marcelo Huertas with 32 points, Leandrinho Barbosa with 20 and Tiago Splitter along with Marcelinho Machado 10 each.
Sergio Hernandez (Argentina head coach): We are very happy because everybody knows we had so much anxiety before the game. The game was really tough. It’s normal because both teams are great teams. They passed the ball very well off the pick-and-roll and we tried to contain that. In the second half they went to Tiago (Splitter) in the low post more. They played very well. I am sure with Ruben in the next four years Brazil will be one of the best teams in the world.
Luis Scola (Argentina forward): It was a great game. I wish we would have faced them later in the tournament. It was real close. Either team could have won. It came down to the little things.
We got three or four guys with 10-15 points instead of one or two guys with 20 or more. And that’s the better way to win games. It’s easier to win games with more options. At the same time, we can’t force anything that doesn’t come naturally. Not at this stage of the competition. I would be very happy if I didn’t have to score one night and someone else got 20-25.
I know the team is going to look for me at the end of the game. I guarantee you there are many games when I missed shots at the end of the game and I will have more. Today I was able to make them. That’s how basketball goes.
Ruben Magnano (Brazil head coach): Congratulations to Argentina for the win, their hard work. I don’t want to say too many things because Marcelo has said just about everything. It was a kind of really bad luck to meet a really good team like Argentina at this stage of the championship and we are sad about the loss but we are really happy that our team worked really hard and tried to do their best.
Marcelo Huertas (Brazil guard): We knew it would be a big battle and a very physical one. It was surprisingly high-scoring. We thought both teams would come out and defend very hard, but we were making shots. We had them against the wall but they made some clutch shots. Carlos Delfino and especially Luis Scola made tough shots with hands in their faces. It’s tough for us because we had a good game plan. They made us pay for our mistakes, small ones. They played the pick-and-roll very well. That was the key of how they were able to score. We couldn’t find the paint many times. We wanted to go further but unfortunately we lose in the round of 16 and that’s a big disappointment for us.
It’s disappointing to lose at this stage of the competition because we played very well. We only lost to the USA by two points. No other team has done that. We had a strong tournament but we lost to a good team. We’re happy and sad at the same time.