At first I thought I won't be able to see this game, because our cable company just decided to act up a few hours before the game. Fortunately, it ran a delayed telecast late at night and I finally saw Manu play for the first time since the Lakers series.
The Argentine team played well enough, but there are still so many things they could improve on. Ball-handling was a mess for the first half of the game. They just didn't look as cohesive as that 2004 Gold Medal team. Prigioni played really well as playmaker. Scola predictably did most of his damage down low. Fabricio fouled out late in the third, visibly frustrated with how the game turned out for him.
Then there's Manu, the only reason why I stayed up late to watch a tune-up tournament. Honestly, I'm rooting for Argentina because of him. I was happy to see him play again and it was encouraging the way he moved on the court. His steps are much quicker and he played well in his 21 minutes of action.
Then you have the dunks. Two sick dunks, in fact.
I was looking out for just one, because I read about it somewhere after the game. The truth is, he did it so fast that I didn't have time to be scared. I thought he was gonna go for a crazy lay-up, since he'd been attempting a lot of those throughout the whole game. He was like a blur, side-stepping his opponents. It reminded me of his dunk over J Howard and Diop early last season in terms of speed and sickness level. I think Manu should show up with his own warning sign because I really don't think anyone saw that coming. I guess when Manu dunks on you, he just dunks on you. No embellishments needed.
I didn't know there was a second dunk. When he went up for the second one, he scared the bejesus out of me. He was almost right under the basket when he went up for it. I can't even remember if he did it with his left or right. I was scared that he would land awkwardly. Thankfully, he didn't.
Unfortunately for the Argentines, Porta got injured again when he rolled his left ankle. I hope it's not that bad though.
And here's a video of Manu's 31st birthday 'celebration' in Nanjing.