Back when the Olympics were about to start, I said that Argentina was clearly the third best team in the world. Despite their tanking shenanigans, even without boy wonder Rubio, Spain was clearly better, and the star-studded USA were the clear favorites. The objective was the bronze medal, the same one Argentina had earned in China four years ago.
Unfortunately, in this tournament, Russia found their rhythm, and for one game at least, they beat Manu, Luis, and the momentum of a group used to celebrating. They earned their bronze through teamwork and good defense - Spurslike, if you will. So what's next for Argentina?
The game is almost besides the point, and the cadence was predictable. Ginobili was every bit the legendary-to-be player that he has always been, coming up big when it matters the most. Delfino had moments, just moments, those moments that define him just as much as the lulls between them do. Nocioni was the heart, Priggioni was close to the point guard we needed. Only Scola missed his appointment with destiny today, but it is hard for me to lay any blame on someone that has given so much to our team. Scola is our hope for continuity in the near future.
It was close and heartbreaking. Those are the dangers of caring.
The Bottom Line
The dream of three consecutive medals is gone. I fully expect Argentina to fall in the international ranking soon, as the old stars retire. The swan song did not end on key.
However, there can be no real failure for these players. The path they carved through the history of Argentinian basketball will remain after they are gone, and sooner or later it will inspire and guide the new generation of players. That will be their real accomplishment, someday soon.
Thanks to the PTRers that cheered for our national team. ...And those of you that cheered for Brazil?
I shall remember.