Argentina vs Spain
Sunday, September 15 at 5 AM EST
Dongfeng Nissan Cultural and Sports Centre
Spain was able to triumph in a double-overtime game against Australia. The tandem of Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol proved to be too much for the Boomers. Poised in crunch time, the Spanish were able to get stops and convert on their end and against a talented Australians squad.
Now they face an Argentine team that has been fighting and overcoming this whole tournament. I don’t think Spain will be fatigued by the double-overtime effort expenditure. They had a day off to rest and they should be poised and focused going into the final match up.
Originally I believed the key matchup to this game would be how Argentina defended the multiple variations of the “Spain Pick and Roll” where a back screen is set for the roller. Although Spain didn’t develop this concept, it’s called the Spain Pick and Roll because of how often coach Sergio Scariolo called it in the 2016 Olympics. Its success was noticed and most top teams have a set in their playbook this year featuring the concept.
Upon review, however, I believe the key will be how well the Spanish can defend Argentina. Spain has averaged 69.2 pts allowed this tournament while Argentina has average 87.6 pts scored. How well Spain is able to slow down the Argentinians will be the determining factor in the result.
The Argentinians continue to surprise, knocking off the French, who were coming off their big win over the United States. Luis Scola has turned back the clock and he is playing like he is 24 again.
The Argentineans are using a solid motion offense that gets everybody involved, and have been locked in on defense. They are playing as a team, rotating crisply, and bringing energy on the defensive end of the floor on every possession.
They have been the underdogs in every match up in the knockout stage and have no pressure. Many observers, including myself, underrated Argentina because they had only a retired NBA player while other top countries had multiple NBA players.
The Argentines do have 7 players on their roster who play professionally in Spain. These teams know each other well and it is a great indicator of the improved level of play overseas. Now the biggest hurdle remains, as Argentina matches up against the sharp, crisp, free-flowing Spanish team.
The Spanish will prevail and get the gold. Argentina’s dream run ends here. The Spanish are just too good. Gasol is showing why he was an NBA champion this year, he is playing at a championship level. Rubio is distributing the ball well. The Hernangomez brothers space the floor and Rudy Fernandez is a nice complement to Rubio.
The Spanish team is on fire right now. Defeating Australia, they beat one of the best teams in the whole tournament and I do expect them to take the final step and win, while covering the 4 pt spread against Argentina.
Pick: Spain -4 -110 with 5Dimes