Friday, August 22, 2008

Beijing Olympics - Day Fifteen - US and Spain Advance to Men's Basketball Final

8:00 a.m. - We open with a men's semifinal basketball game between Spain and Lithuania. The score is tied at 42 as the second half begins. US vs. Argentina comes on next. A great morning. Lithuania might have Zyvidas Ilgauskas from the Cavaliers, but I don't see him on the floor. They do have a lot of tall guys.

Now Lithuania is up 54-51 with 3-1/2 minutes left in third quarter. Time to empty the dishwasher.

Very competitive game. Pao Gasol makes free throw to tie game at 62. With 1 second left in 3rd quarter, Lithuania has a chance at a 4-point play--3-pointer and free throw. He makes it. Half-court heave long. 66-62 Lithuania.

Spain back within one. 67-66. Rubio lobs to Gasol. Basket and foul shot. 69-68 Lithuania. Makes free throw. Tied at 69. Easy layup 71-69 Lithuania. Back to kitchen.

Good run for Spain. Now up 79-74 with just 3-1/2 minutes left in the game. Now 81-74 Spain. Big three for Lithuania. 81-77. Fifth straight semifinal appearance for Lithuania. Three bronzes to show for them. Over the back foul. Still 81-77. Spain to line. Jimenez makes two. 83-77. Good defense and steal by Spain. 2 minutes left. 18th Lithuania turnover. Rebound. Foul Spain. Bad idea. Stops the clock. Best tournament for Spain since 1984. Two free throws. 83-79. Foul Lithuania. Gasol misses. Makes second. 84-79. Rebound Spain then turnover. Drive and score. 84-81. One minute left. Foul Lithuania. Fernandez makes first. 85-81. Makes another. 86-81. Two misses by Lithuania. 30 seconds left. Finally a foul. Too long to wait. Missed on first. Lopez shooting. Makes second 87-81. Lithuania makes a basket. Two free throws for Lopez. 3-pointer for Lithuania. 89-86. Jimenez at line. Makes. 6-6 for game. Makes second. 91-86. Lithuania misses long shot. Spain wins 91-86. Will play US/Argentina winner for gold.

Now watching Brazil-Italy men's volleyball while waiting for second basketball semifinal. Brazil leads two sets to one and 13-8 in the fourth. Announcers puzzled why Italian coach plays ineffective and injured players while more productive players sit. Now 13-9. Brazil hits into net. 13-10. Brazil hits long. 13-11. Timeout Brazil.

Italy hits OB. 14-11. Italy kill. 14-12. Italy overachieving in tournament. Ranked 10th coming in. Italy hits well out. 15-12. Italy scores on quick set. 15-13. Returned in kind by Brazil. 16-13. Big kill by Italy. 16-14. Brazil kill. 17-14. Analyst says Italian press should "crucify" the Italian coach. "Appalling decisions". 18-15. Serve into net by Brazil. 18-16. Stuff block by Italy 18-17. Italy serves long. 19-17. Huge hit by Italy. 19-18. Brazil kill 20-18. Injured player Fei can't respond to ball. Fei kills. 20-19. Offense/defense subs by Brazil. Stuff block Brazil. 21-19. No hope for that swing. Overpass by Italy. 22-19. Brazil serves long 22-20. Brazil kill. 23-20. Can sideout their way to the match. Good kill by Italy. 23-21. Brazil kill. 24-21. Match point. Stuff block Italy. 24-22. Italy survives one match point. Kill from backline. Touched on the block. 25-22. Brazil wins match 3-1 and goes to gold medal game.

Next is long awaited men's basketball match between US and Argentina. US looking for revenge against Argentina, who beat them in 2004 semifinal.

But first, the decathlon. Women do the heptathlon, which is already complete. US champion Bryan Clay has the lead after one day. 100-meter hurdles is first event of the day; sixth of the competition. Amazing athletes. What a variety of skills they have to display--sprinting, hurdling, distance-running (1,500 meters - the last event), pole vault, high jump, long jump, shot put, discus and javelin. Clay wins his heat in 13.93 seconds despite hitting about six hurdles. Clay OK with his performance. Four more events. Clay wants to "get this over" to go home to wife and kid. Clay still leads. American Trey Hardee is in third place. Clay is very low key. Czech Roman Szebrle is world record holder. Throws discus about 149 feet. Clay has great 176 foot throw. Krauchanka of Belarus is second in competition. Hardee way off his best - only 142 feet. Clay wins discus. Overall lead stretches to almost 300 points.

Now basketball. Dwayne Wade played on losing teams at 2004 Olympics and 2006 World Championships. Oberto and Ginobili lead Argentina. US wins tip. Putback by Kobe. 2-0. Manu misses three. Anthony misses. Argentina turnover. Anthony misses. Howard rebounds. Gets fouled. Makes first free throw. 3-0. Misses second. Manu scores on inbounds play. 3-2. Manu steps. Turnover. Jason Kidd turnover. Howard blocks. Delfino misses 3. James misses three. Howard tips rebound out. Bryant non-shooting foul. Bryant guarding Manu. Now Kidd takes him. Scola hook. 3-4. Kidd scores. 5-4. Fifth basket in five shots for Kidd in the tournament. Argentina turnover. Kidd misses. Kidd fouls Manu. Great move by Manu. Misses layup. James to the hoop. 7-4. Offensive foul on Manu. Wade in for Kidd. Paul and Bosh also in. Pretty move by Bryant. Makes layup. 9-4. James also in. Kobe drills three. 12-4. Ginobili misses. Foul on Ginobili. His second. Moving screen on James. 4 minutes left in first quarter. Only 4 points for Argentina. Wade steals. Kobe misses three. Bosh rebounds and gets fouled. Ginobili down hurt. Not looking good. Going to the bench. Bosh makes two. Andres Nocioni in for Argentina. 14-4. Turnover and Bryant dunk. 16-4. Sixth turnover. Oberto misses. Great pass from James to Paul. Three falls. 19-4. Turnover and dunk for Paul. 21-4. Two misses for Argentina. James fouled. Goes to line. Nocioni grabbed James around the waist. James still got ball to the rim. 18 straight for US. Timeout.

James misses first free throw. Misses second. Prigioni makes three. 21-7. Deron Williams answers. 24-7. Argentina in zone defense. Wade fouls Nocioni. Nocioni limping after injury in previous game. Makes one free throw. 24-8. And second. 24-9. Anthony three. 27-9. Good move and miss. Bosh rebounds. Williams misses. Bosh rebounds and fouled. 29-9. Makes free throw. 30-9. Nocioni makes shot at buzzer. 30-11. Ginobili headed for locker room.

Nocioni makes another 30-13. Offensive foul US. Delfino offensive foul. Another turnover. Paul from free throw line. 32-13. Push off on Nocioni. Paul dribbles through whole team for layup. 34-13. Scola hits off-balanced shot and gets fouled. 34-15. 34-16. Williams misses three. Howard fouls Delfino. Makes two. 34-18. 9-4 spurt by Argentina. Anthony rips three. 37-18. Fifth 3-pointer for US. Howard rebounds. Anthony short. Nocioni blocks Wade. Defensive play of game for Argentina. Argentina three. 37-21. Howard push off to get rebound after Anthony miss. Nocioni to the line. Makes two. 37-23. Kobe misses three. Nocioni misses three. Foul on James after rebound. Quinteros to the line. Makes two. 9-9. 37-25. Turnover. Argentina gives it back. Prigioni fouls Bryant. No shot. Kidd back in. James fouled. No shot. Fourth of quarter. James misses three. Bad foul by Kidd. Argentina back to the line. Gutierrez makes two. 37-27. Anthony misses three. Gutierrez layup. 37-29. Anthony fouled underneath. Will shoot two. 20-7 Argentina run after 30-9 US lead.

Redd comes in for US to attack Argentina zone. Anthony makes two. 39-29. Anthony blocks Delfino shot. Gutierrez scores. 39-31. Three for Kobe. 42-31. Anthony rebounds Delfino miss. Long three miss by Kobe. Nocioni fouls Anthony. His third foul. Anthony to line. Makes two. 44-31. Redd rebounds Quinteros miss. Offensive foul on CP. Nice move by Scola on Bosh. Makes shot and gets fouled. 44-34. Great defense by Argentina forces turnover. Argentina layup. 44-36. Foul on Scola. Prince in for US. Paul makes two. 46-36. Scola rebounds own miss and scores. 46-38. Paul misses three. Scola layup. 46-40. Kobe misses long three. Turnover. Kobe loose. Going in for dunk. Stripped. US maintains possession. Another Argentina run. 9-2 after 44-31. Three seconds left. Anthony shoots three. Foul called. Argentina coach doesn't like it. Three free throws. Makes three. 49-40. Delfino hits the rim from backcourt. Halftime. US 6-20 from three range. Only 33 field goal attempts overall. Too much long distance gunning.

Very nice comeback for Argentina without their star Manu. Were down 34-13. Won the rest of first half by 27-15. Got as close as six with possession but US defense held and Anthony made three free throws. Quiet game for James so far. Expect to see more of him in second half.

Only four fast break points for US. Anthony misses. Howard tips in the miss. 51-40. Held ball. Tied up by James. Shot clock at 3. Turnover. Tough shot by James missed. No Manu. Missed three. James rebounds. Howard layup. 53-40. Nocioni goes to basket. Foul on James. His third. Crawls in. 53-41. Still perfect for Argentina at line. Makes second. 53-42. James layup. 55-42. Scola jumper. 55-44. Anthony misses jumper. Gets rebound. James long three. Makes. 58-44. Bad miss by Scola. Kidd fouled. Third quarter starts OK for US.

No sign of Ginobili. Anthony misses. Howard rebounds. Gets fouled on putback. Anthony upset. Flagrant foul on Argentina. Howard misses first. Second one creeps in. 59-44. US retains possession. Good passing leads to Howard dunk. 61-44. Oberto shot. 61-46. Anthony short baseline jumper. 63-46. Wade in for Howard. LeBron is biggest US player on floor. Delfino hits 3. 63-49. Anthony fouled on layup. Better passing this quarter by US. Noiconi technical. 4th foul. Anthony makes four free throws. 67-49. US holds ball. Wade bad pass. Strong move by Scola. 67-51. Anthony takes the shot from Scola. Goes to bench. Bosh in. Bad communication between Kidd and James. Pass OB. Bosh blocks. James bad pass. James steal. Misses layup. Wade tip no good. Fouled. James to bench. Wade makes free throw. Misses second. US retains possession. 68-51. Wade misses bank shot. Great drive by Scola. 68-53. Wade fighting for rebounds. Goaltending on Argentina. 73. Scola plays for Houston Rockets. Good player. Scola jumper. 70-55. Wade to Williams for three. 73-55. Bosh fouls Scola. Turnover. Scola fouls Wade. His third. Wade misses first. And second. Argentina rebounds. Missed three. Bosh rebounds. Paul fouled on drive. Short on free throw. Great spin move by Paul. Makes second. 74-55. Prigioni misses long three. Anthony rebounds; fouled. Free throw machine. 11 in a row. Now 12. 13. 76-55. 21-point lead reestablished. Delfino three. 76-58. Anthony misses three. Wade rebounds. Fouled. Makes first. And second. 78-58. Delfino layup. 78-60. Travel on Williams. Delfino misses. Anthony foul on rebound. Missed free throw. Makes second. 78-61. US turnover. Delfino three. 78-64. Anthony miss. Delfino carrying Argentina in this quarter. Missed three. Bosh rebounds. Paul carry. Delfino misses three at buzzer. 78-64. 29-24 in that quarter.

Lunch time. Now US out by 19. 88-69. Eight for James in 4th quarter. Quinteros 88-71. James misses long three. Delfino dunks. Bad defense by US. 88-73. Bryant misses layup. Delfino brick. Alley oop to Bosh misses. Scola rebounds and makes. 88-75. Bosh putback of Anthony miss. 90-75. 22 points and 11 rebounds for Scola. Goaltending on Scola shot. 90-77. Turnover. Steal and dunk for Wade. 92-77. Delfino scores. 92-79. Bosh fouled. Shoots two. Makes two. 94-79. Bad pass. Taken by Paul. Pass to Wade for layup. 96-79. Delfino misses layup. Scola follows. 96-81. Wade misses. Bosh puts back. 98-81. Argentina miss. Wade fouled. Misses first. Makes second. 99-81. Paul to Wade. Good move. 101-81. One minute left. Boozer misses. Plucky effort by Argentina, but overmatched. US wins 101-81. Spain next on Sunday.

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