First, the good news: Luis Scola scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-4 from deep, and grabbed 10 boards before fouling out in Argentina's 111-107 double overtime victory over Brazil, virtually guaranteeing that the blue-and-white will move on to pool play next week.
Now, the bad news: Nene Hilario had his way with Scola when the two were matched up, finishing with 24 and 11 while shooting 11-of-17 and owning the paint. Scola, who lost minutes in last season's NBA playoffs because of his defense, looked slow and often tentative. Of course, unlike the NBA, Scola played most of the game at the 5.
But the Golden Generation survived, mainly because of Andres Nocioni's record-tying performance. Nocioni, who played nine seasons in the NBA and is now a star at Real Madrid, scored 37 points, the most ever by an Argentine Olympian and the high game in Rio, topping Bojan Bogdanovic's 33.. Facundo Campazzo, the 5'11" point guard also contributed with 33 points and 10 assists. And as per usual, Manu Ginobili played great at the end, finishing with 13, four and three.
The game transcended sports as South America's two largest countries faced off. As NBC Olympics reported...
The atmosphere was simply electric from the moment fans arrived; so much so that Luis Scola and Marcelo Huertas spoke to the crowd before the game and encouraged the fan bases to exhibit sportsmanship throughout the game.
"We're Latin American brothers," Huertas said, "and we're counting on you to have a celebration within the Olympic spirit."
"On behalf of my team, I want to ask you to cheer for your team, to have fun in a civilized manner and with a lot of respect," added Luis Scola.
Argentina plays Spain, the reigning silver medalists who got their first win of the tournament on Thursday, in their final game. Croatia is up next, playing winless Nigeria at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, then Lithuania Monday.
- Argentina wins double-overtime thriller over Brazil - Bill Leopold - NBC Olympics
- Men's Olympic basketball group phase: Argentina vs. Brazil (Video) - NBC Olympics
- 2016 Olympic Games: Tournament for Men - Argentina v Brazil Boxscore - FIBA.com
- Double dip: Argentina beats Brazil 111-107 in 2-OT thriller – AP
- Just a game: Scola urges athletes to stop with war references - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Argentina wins tense basketball thriller against Brazil in Rio - Dan Martin - AFP