Notes from ARG 93, BRA 89

Scola pointed the way to the quarterfinals. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)

ISTANBUL – The round of 16 concluded with the best game of the 2010 World Championship thus far. From start to finish, this was a beautiful display of basketball, and it’s a shame that one of these two teams had to go home early.

That team is Brazil, with Argentina advancing to the quarterfinals with a 93-89 victory on Tuesday night. Both of these teams executed brilliantly in a win-or-go-home situation, and in the end, Argentina had Luis Scola, and Brazil did not.

Scola has clearly been the MVP of this tournament thus far, and apparently his 29-point average in pool play was just an appetizer for the medal rounds. He dropped 37 on Brazil, to go along with nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

One of Scola’s biggest shots of the game was a post-up, fadeaway turnaround over Anderson Varejao, but we really didn’t see much of Scola in the post in this game. In fact, when he did post up earlier in the night, he turned the ball over a couple of times.

Most of his production came off pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop action with point guard Pablo Prigioni. But he also had a gorgeous running bank shot off a slip-and-dish from Carlos Delfino. Then there was a great weak-side cut down the middle of the lane off a Prigioni-Fabricio Oberto pick-and-roll.

The biggest bucket of the night was a pick-and-pop 18-footer that gave Argentina a five-point lead with 24 seconds to go. Brazil never got a chance to tie or take the lead after that.

On the other end of the floor, Brazilian point guard Marcelo Huertas was almost as brilliant as Scola. Huertas wasn’t dishing out assists like he did in the first half against the U.S. last week, but rather was getting to the rim off high screen-and-rolls. He also hit a few pull-up threes when the Argentine defenders backed off, finishing with 32 points on 10-for-16 shooting.

It was a ridiculously efficient game overall, with the two teams combining to shoot 56 percent from the field and score 182 points on 131 possessions, which translates to 139 points per 100. As a reference, the overall efficiency of the tournament before Tuesday’s games was about 105 points per 100 possessions.

Here are the highlights from FIBA.

So Argentina will play Lithuania on Thursday, with the winner playing the winner of the USA-Russia game in the semifinals. Argentina and the U.S. are both strong favorites to win those games, of course. And there’s no doubt that, with the Americans lacking interior defense, Scola and crew would definitely be a serious threat to knock them off.

  • Leandro Barbosa loves the long ball. Nine of his 14 shots in this game were from 3-point range, and he kept Brazil in it at times by hitting five of those nine. But Barbosa picked up his third foul on a charge with 2:18 left to go in the second quarter, and he didn’t return until there was 1:07 left in the third.
  • I imagine that with his two big performances in this tournament (last Monday against the U.S. and tonight against Argentina), Huertas opened the eyes of some decision-makers around the NBA. He helped Caja Laboral to the ACB (Spanish league) title last season and, according to my new friend PlanetGornik, the 27 year old Huertas is under contract for two more years.
  • I’ve written this before, but it’s amazing how much better of a player Carlos Delfino is with his national team. With Manu Ginobili resting this summer, Delfino is his team’s only real perimeter scorer. And when he’s playing well, Delfino (a 40 percent shooter from 3-point range over his five NBA seasons)  can really take advantage of the shorter arc. He was 4-for-7 from downtown on Tuesday.
  • It was interesting to see Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez make offense-defense substitutions at point guard throughout the first half, bringing in Luis Cequeira for Prigioni if there was a dead ball before a defensive possessions. Cequeria was a bit of a pest for Huertas, but his aggressiveness got him in trouble at times. It allowed the Brazilian bigs to screen him easily, and he gave Brazil a few free points by fouling on the perimeter in bonus situations.

***

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

43 Comments

  1. SB says:

    Serbia had been stolen in the match against Turkey, it is incredibly how judges are “pulling” the Turkish.
    Serbia after U.S.A. was by far the best team in the mundobasket.

  2. [...] promediando 11.3 puntos y 5.6 asistencias por partido. FUENTES: FIBA WORLD CUP: 1; 2 ; 3; 4 NBA MARCA: 1; 2 Comments RSS [...]

  3. Pacquiao says:

    After reading all these posts made me eager to watch this game when it gets replayed on NBATV, ( i’m still here at work at the moment)… As a Laker fan i know Scola was a big problem for the “Lakes” a couple of years ago in the Western Conference playoffs, its seems like the Argentina team will be the black horse on this tournament, they get better as they play and its going to be exciting to see them against the US team (barring elimination).

  4. English Ball Player says:

    I didn’t watch this game, its hard to watch games here in the UK, wouldn’t of minded seeing tiago in action before he got to the NBA, Is he going to be this amazing big man for the spurs, because SAN definitly did not break the bank to sign him. But we shall see, as for Argentina they have always been amogst the elite, the south american team have a great set up, Luis Scola is a beast watched a game last season and hes got an amazing post game, and if the USA meet Argentina, it could cause problems with tiago and Scola banging around in the post, as you have seen its not the big men winning the games for USA its your 1,2,3 Eric Gordon coming up big in one of them.

    Setting up to quite the tournament.

  5. SHARKAAAA says:

    Wow, what a technical game. Apart from all the uncontested great words on Scola, the Rocket’s true blue collar winner guy, a work on Arg’s coach. He thought out the game just the way it ended up being… His team executed what he’d prepared, pick and rolls, pick and pop, let Huertas play… Great for that coach.

  6. Sergio says:

    ¡¡¿¿Lucky??!! You’ve got to be kidding. They’ve been alternating the lead along the whole game. Argentina put all over Scola’s back and the same did Brazil with Huertas. Check the boxscore! Scola 37, Delfino 20, Jasen 15, Oberto 7 for Arg. Huertas 32, Barbosa 20, Machado 10, Splitter 10 for Bra.

  7. Paula Drig says:

    Excellent game! Thrilling to watch, with these two teams, in a head to head competition. Argentina finished stronger, thanks to Scola, but he´s not the only good player on the team. Yes, he is probably the best, but not the only one. Prigioni and Delfino are having a great moment as well. Jonas started to appear, finally! WE DON´T NEED MANU GINOBILLI, we do not need him at all, so forget about that guy. It´s a good thing Oberto came back, he didn´t have his best game, but he´s back and still recovering. What an exciting game to watch all the way until the last second. Thank you Argentina for the excellent game and the joy of watching our team defeat our great rivals here in southamerica. Not even the excellent brazilian players with the former argentinian coach could stop you!!! VAMOS ARGENTINA CARAJOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

  8. noobs says:

    Stop getting too excited. Lets see if he can do it again, which i doubt he will. hes just a one time guy

  9. EricHua says:

    Great,Scola!

  10. LTU says:

    Nothing gonna stop Lithuania team with Linas Kleiza.

  11. Scobeast says:

    What shoes is Scola wearing in the pic? I want one pair…

  12. Shaq says:

    You were lucky!

  13. Jmitch says:

    One of the most technical post players ive ever seen in my lifetime… All of his post moves are 100% textbook. SCOLA FOR PRESIDENT!! (p.s awesome haircut too!!)

  14. Roger Faco says:

    Whattt? Brazil played well.. Argentinian got lucky as usual.. overweight a player.. Scola made almost 50% oh all points.. Brazil played with heart as usual.. Luis Scolad played very well, BUT Brazil deserved this one, all the games Brazil almost win.. Agains USA by 2 points, Danny Granger at the bench on his knees.. Brazil made a great team, at least 6 or 7 players played and helped the team, Argentina puts all over Scola’s back. Prigioni, Oberto, Gutierrez, they are there just to fill the team.. Scola had to play all 40 minutes to make all his point.. put Durant, Rose, Barbosa, and all other NBA players to play 40 minutes.. BUT that is basketball .. even the better team can win .. Let´s see until Scola it will take all over the team..

  15. sebastian pedone says:

    Scola >>> Dios

    preparate hijo que en las semis nos volvemos a encontrar

    • Hernán says:

      Si, totalmente. Este equipo le puede ganar a Estados Unidos, en el poste bajo, entre Scola y Oberto se lo comen frito a Odom..

  16. Bryan Davila says:

    Lusi is a beast vive Argentina!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. sam-zee says:

    OK, it was a great game, but do not exaggerate. I am sure it was fun to watch, but check out what problems Brazil has towards European style of defensive play (e.g. the game vs. Slovenia). It is not a coincidence that two of the best games of Brazil happened towards non-european squads. Forget Croatia, they lack talent currently (but they’ll be back, don’t worry).

    So again, it was an extremely fun game to watch, but true basketball freaks enjoy more in intensity and defensive efforts. To me, Greece vs. Spain was the best game so far. OK, not so close at the end, but anyway.

    Then again, it’s a matter of personal opinion, isn’t it ;-)

  18. Caco says:

    one of the best game i´ve never see…awesome!…thanks Luis Scola!…thanks for the magic!

  19. Vlad says:

    hey if you guys had scola on your fantasy teams last year your wouldnt be askin why he cant do this in the nba because he does!!

  20. Jeff Mark Romitman says:

    Me too…i watched the game @ 2am philippines time…it was a great great game… i thought brazil can win the game… sorry for my bad english….but argentinian Luis Scola have a great game and make big shots… huhu

  21. chris rodriguez says:

    Scola has been this good or even better for the Houston Rockets. Alot of mediocre NBA fans don’t really know about Scola’s skill set and craftiness because of the lack of showtime on the big networks. The Rockets are so much better with Scola and I’m just glad that we gave up Jackie Butler to get this guy. Jackie who? Exactly. Look up Scola on youtube and you’ll see the ICECREAM man scooping all over the NBA. Two seasons ago in the playoffs Scola killed the Lakers in the second round in 7 games. I feel that if the Rockets had a Yao Ming then they would’ve been the champs. The Rockets were the only team that season who gave the Lakers a run for their money and they did it with heart, no center, no Tracy McGrady, and all of Luis Scola.

  22. olsuola says:

    wow
    i when scole was a great player if kobe bryant say ur a good player trust me u are wow

  23. periong says:

    The game between Argertina and Brazil in the round of 16 eliminiation, maybe regarded as the best basketball game ever played in the history of FIBA world. It was a perfect display of shooting and defense plays. The crowd watched breathless as the outcome of the game was not certain until the last minute play. Basketball fans don’t miss to see this highly celebrated game. Argentin was lucky to emerge victorious.

  24. periong says:

    I watched the game this 2am (Philippine time) , and in sum, it maybe regarded as the greatest basketball game in the entire history of FIBA World. From start to the end, it was an awesome display of shooting and defensive plays from the NBA superstars coming from Argentina and Brazil.Scola showed his unlimited skills both in defense and shooting.Never have I seen Scola like this in the NBa, in the same breath Delfino showed his real worth as an NBA star, he’s awesome in 3pts shooting and drive-in plays. Splitter showed a good promise as a power forward but was checked by Oberto and Scola.Manuel Huertas a newcomer of Team Brazil showed an immense talent as a shooting guard. Barbosa was his usual
    self as a reliable shooting guard. All players from both teams played their roles as choreagraphed by their coaches. In a manner of speaking, it was a contest between a tango dance (Arg) and samba (Bra). Argentina was just lucky to end as winner this morning. Basketball fans of the wold, you should not miss to see this celebrated game.

    • Diego says:

      This wasn’t such a great game. You should check the game where Argentina got the first victory against an NBA-USA team and the gold medal winning team. Those were nearly perfect matchs.
      Argentina misses Nocioni, Ginobili, Pepe Sanchez, among others, but is a team that’s growing in every game, getting better and better.
      Seriously, check the first defeat of the USA team with nba players and you’ll see a perfect execution and one of the greatest team ever assembled. Funny fact: the coach of those argentinian teams was Magnano, actual Brazil coach…

    • DD says:

      that was not the greatest game in fiba history.. maybe you just said that because that’s the only fiba game you have ever watched..

  25. vs says:

    What a game. The no-time-outs-during-possessions rule makes for fantastic finishes, unperturbed by commercial breaks every 5 seconds, something the NBA should consider.
    Heartbreaking parallels between Huertas and Steve Nash – heroic efforts on losing teams with Barbosa!

  26. marc gonzalez says:

    BEIN A ROCKETS FAN I LOVE IT. HES SICK. HIM AND A HEALTHY YAO

  27. Bernie says:

    I still cant understand how SA let this guy go…. to bad, they would ve been champs again

  28. GUGA says:

    Amazing SCOLA! the best FIBA player of the world

  29. jun mackoy says:

    but how come he cannot do that in the nba.

    • After Gasol and Nowitzki, Scola is the best International Power Forward in the NBA.

    • Devil says:

      check luis scola nba page and check his last 20 games or so.

    • antawn says:

      wow dude, have you just came out of a cave? Its called stepping up, he’s a blue collar type of player with the Rockets b’coz they already have Yao, Brooks, and Martin to do much of the scoring, but with his National team, he’s “The Man” VIVA SCOLA!

    • C-ROD says:

      are you nuts??? have you ever seen scola play in the nba? he’s by far the most underrated player in the nba and he works harder than any guy on the court. for three years he was voted the best player not playing in the nba and he also won world mvp when argentina won the gold medal in 2004. i’m a die hard rockets fan and i can’t stand that Scola doesn’t get the attention and recognition he deserves. he’s been playing at this level for years and it’s too bad that most of the people on here have never seen it. he’s the type of player that the rockets can win a championship with.

      • Brandon A says:

        Seriously, why do people that only know the names, KOBE, WADE, and LeBRON even bother making comments? Do you realize that Scola averaged 16.2 ppg, 2.1 asst, and 8.6 boards last season? And you’re saying, “why doesn’t he play well in the NBA?” Those look like pretty good numbers to me. Before you start talking about stuff you know nothing about, do your research. Scoring 30 in a game is nothing new to Scola; he’s done it internationally and in the NBA.

  30. Hi,
    My name is Marcos Mendes from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When Scola went to the Rockets, I told a friend of mine who lives in Pasadena, LA that Scola was a much better player than Oberto, who at that time, was playing for the Spurs and already had 1 or 2 NBA championship rings. Here in Brazil and South America, we know Scola for a long time, since he was 17 or 18 years old. We knew he was going to become a phenomenal player. It was just a matter of time. Thanks

  31. leo says:

    what a game!, Brazil needed Nene to stop Scola..
    Huertar now in NBA

  32. kobe says:

    Luis Scola is a beast!!!