After a couple of bad losses in friendlies, many of us (and especially me) were pessimistic about the USA Basketball men’s national team’s game against Argentina on Tuesday night. The Argentines were FIBA Americas’ top team in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
On the one hand, I wouldn’t be mad if they blew Team USA out. That said, the Argentines have also played Nigeria and Australia this past week, losing all their matches. So to be honest, Team USA had their best chance to win tonight and they really needed to. Fortunately, their talent and offense pulled through in a 108-80 win earlier this afternoon in Las Vegas.
Team USA responded with their strongest first half during this period of friendlies, starting the first half with an early double-digit lead, shooting 56 percent from the field and leading 56-42 at halftime.
Bradley Beal had his strongest performance, scoring 12 of his 17 points then. The Washington Wizards guard also added 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 29 minutes of action.
Bradley Beal's 1st half:— NBA (@NBA) July 13, 2021
4-5 FGM@usabasketball leads Argentina at the break on NBC Sports Network & https://t.co/HbtDcrFgfZ. pic.twitter.com/XFgZ0wFzNZ
Once the second half began, the lead became a rout as they quickly went on another run to expand their lead to 25 and never looked back.
In addition to Beal, Kevin Durant added 17 points, Zach LaVine scored 15 points, Damian Lillard added 13 points and Bam Adebayo scored 12 points.
The good news about the Americans’ win tonight was that they won big. But at the same time, Beal played nearly 30 minutes and Lillard played over 26. In the frontcourt, LaVine and Durant played for about 24 minutes each. The positive way to look at this is that it allows the Americans more time together on the court before the Olympics. However, these are also heavy playing loads for the Americans and they aren’t playing in Olympic group stage games yet.
For Argentina, long-time NBA veteran Luis Scola scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting in 19 minutes of action. He has had his current hairdo since the 2019 FIBA World Cup if not earlier, but let’s say that got some buzz since we’re more used to seeing him in long hairduring his NBA days.
I know I'm old...I hear Luis Scola and I picture number 1, not number 2 pic.twitter.com/hs5mfk7PaO— K (@2kf184) July 13, 2021
yes i am an american but i will be rooting for handsome luis scola and only handsome luis scola today pic.twitter.com/7sSz4hfHQL— sean yoo (@SeanYoo) July 13, 2021
I want to look like Luis Scola when I’m 41. That’s my new goal in life. pic.twitter.com/jlhm7JjReg— Justin (@jrombough0) July 13, 2021
I’m not in my 40s yet, but I certainly hope to look as good as Scola does when I get there! But I digress.
In addition to Scola, Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazo scored 12 points, but only shot 4-of-12 from the field.
The Americans will be off for a couple of days as the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay will host the WNBA All-Star Game tomorrow, which also serves as the first friendly for the USA Basketball women’s national team. The men’s and women’s teams will be in a doubleheader against Australia this Friday with the women playing at 2:30 p.m. ET and the men at 6 p.m. ET.